SUMMER RUGBY MONTPELLIER STYLE
Lundi 28 Juillet 2014
Montpellier, started their pre season in style with a Summer double header, Lyon v Oyonnax followed by their own Montpellier v Saracens, last seasons runner up in the H Cup losing to Toulon in the final.
The first game was a gritty affair played in a raging thunderstorm for the first half before the sun came back out. Thet were plenty of mistakes but the handling situation was appauling with the conditions, Lyon just about came out worthy winners 12-7.
The second game the conditions were better although the pitch in excellent condition was a little slippery under foot, Saracens had their Internationals still on holiday as were the Montpellier boys who had been in Australia or on other International duties., so both sides fielded a good mixture of seasoned players and lots of youngsters trying to make a break through into the professional era, and make a name for themslves at the same time. The crowd despite the earlier conditions was a very pleasing 7,000 an excellent reward for some good publicity by Montpellier and also the quality of all 4 teams present for this Summer Rugby Special...
The first half went to Saracens wih a fine try from England winger David Strettle, the defence from both teams was particulary intense but then again aren't all the French v Rosbifs games!!! Alex Tulou scored a try just before half time to get Montpellier back in the game.
Half time score Montpellier 7 Saracens 10. The Saracens prop Richard Barrington had to be strechered off early in the first half after a clash of heads and concussion, he was transfered to CHU to run tests and make sure everything was ok.
At half time the changes were rung by both sides, and also maybe Montpellier got the edge with their physical condition probably more advanced than their opposition as the season starts nearly a month earlier than their counterparts, the evening was also very heavy and humid conditions not good for the boys from the other side of the Channel. Montpellier tried all 3 of their scrum halves, Paillaugue, Pelissie and Iribaren, but had Enzo Selponi as the 10 of the evening, and did this younster do well his distribution was excellent, took the gaps when they appeared and his kicking although not perfect was satisfactory everything that was needed, as an understudy to FTD the boy had learned from his tutor, he even got himself on the score bord with an excellent try manufactured by his own intuitive play. there were another 4 tries from Lucas Dupont 48 min, Benjy Fall 55min, Enzo Selponi 58min, Alex Bias 63min, Benoit Sicart 78min, all in all a very goood first pre season game for Montpellier, a another great factopr all 6 tries were tranformed by either Benoit Paillaugue or Jonathon Pelissie and not all were in front of the posts there were a couple attempts from the touch line, always good to see. The Sarries winger Erle added a late try for the the vistitors and the final score: Montpellier 42 Saracens15.
There were fine performances from Nems Leleimalafagawho was back after sitting out most of last season with injury, had a couple of humungous hits, and his scrummaging was good, Benjy Fall his first game for his new club was showing some great pointers and got himself a try, the 2 Alex's Bias and Tulou both looking sharp and Robert Ebersohm looked as though he could be contending for a place in the centre. Coach Fabien Galthie was smiling after the game so there was contentment there but this is not the TOP 14 and he will have his boys back to work on Monday, to prepare the them for the start on the season on August 16th against Racing Metro a tough start to probably another very tough season but this is now becoming the norm every season.