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Two points mean progression

Le 10 septembre 2018

Saturday afternoon, Montpellier had the privilege of playing the first game of Day 3 of this seasons Top 14. Their opponents’ Bordeaux, a team that is slowly finding its mark on the TOP 14. Another game to be played under very hot conditions with a slight wind. The attendance looked small but their ground is of footie dimensions, the actual attendance was 15,557 so not all that bad after all.

The match started and within 2 mins. Montpelier had their first injury : Konstantine Mikautadze had to go off with an arm injury which looked very serious, these Georgians do not leave the park for nothing. There is only one thing tougher than a Georgians that’s 2 of them ! The game was truffled with mistakes, both teams contributed to a fairly mundane occasion,  the scrums were more on the floor than upright the knock-ons of a very high rate and it was a real stop stop affair, not great publicity for the TOP 14. Serin managed 2 penalties for Bordeaux while Pienaar got one for Montpellier 6-3 that was about all that happened in the first half, apart from Benjamin Fall getting a yellow for mistiming his jump for a high ball, the ref blew for half time with Bordeaux having a very slender lead, but this was a first 40mins. of very poor quality from both sides.

The second half started and things did not improve. Another yellow for Montpellier, this time it was Bismark Du Plessis for a high tackle and back to 14 players for the visitors. Bordeaux did try to score but some last ditch defending and some awful passing followed by numerous forward passes and spilt ball kept the Montpellier try line virgin. Montpellier did have a moment later on in the game when they did pound the Bordeaux try line for several mins. but it all came to no avail as Bordeaux cleverly nicked the ball and cleared their lines. Penalties were added but that is all that happened to the scoreboard, Serin had one and Johan Goosen added 2 for Montpellier, the last one in the dying mins. to get the score to 9-9.

Finally the match petered out to a draw both teams not having their best day if you wanted to see fast running rugby, but that happens sometimes. Although a win would have been great, the draw is obviously better than losing and 2 very valuable points away from home, so progression is the only word that could be used, a very miche- mache game that everybody hopes will be forgotten as better one come along.  There were few players that could be sited as exceptional from either teams but Yvan Rielhac again showed he never stops trying, Johan Goosen had flashes of brilliance, Capt Liebenberg tackled everything that passed by him, but unfortunately that was about it.

The mistakes were abundant whether it be forward passes knock ons or some sloppy line out play, but at the end of it all Montpellier have 2 points from a tough away game and as we all know points win prizes but there is still a long way to go. Next week Montpellier are again on the road with a visit to Lyon which will be a very tough game as Lyon do not often lose at home, some hard work and improvement all round will be needed to obtain a result next weekend.

 

Steve Whittell.