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Le 24 septembre 2013

Top of the TOP 14 Clermont, were at Montpellier for Canal +’s Gala Friday evening clash, in front of a very near to full house of 14,070, the wind was blowing from right to left and the evening very humid, but still excellent conditions for playing rugby.Clermont always a difficult team whether they are at home or away and they certainly came looking to do something special against a highly rated Montpellier who are either blowing red hot or a little cooler at times, consistency is what the Cysts are looking for and tonight was a gooder time as ever to show it. The game started with a Clermont penalty after only 60 seconds which was converted by Para, but minutes later Jonathon Pelissie brought the scores level to 3-3. Montpellier started to stamp their authority on the game and Clermont had their backs to the wall, whatever the Montpellier pack had to eat pre-match it certainly worked they were strong aggressive and only had one movement which was Forward at Pace, they did have to defend at times but when they did the tackles were huge, either knocking Clermont backwards with venom or getting the ball released in the tackle, Clermont looked as though this was going to be a very complicated evening for them. Pelissie added a couple more penalties, then another masterpiece from the young No. 9, exactly a carbon copy of his Toulouse try of 2 weeks ago, a ruck formed and Pelisse left everybody standing, he darted left, right, and just outpaced some of the fastest TOP 14 wingers, the Clermont backs are no slouches but they were left for dead on this one, first try to Montpellier which he converted himself, Pelisse 16 Clermont 3. Five minutes later he was at it again, this time a quickly taken penalty kick for Anthony Floch  a good rebound gave the home no 9 another try, which of course he again converted: Pelissie 23 Clermont 3, the very same managed another penalty to add a further 3 pts to his already inflated personnel total, but just to show the boy is human he missed a penalty, but Montpellier went to the break 26-3 in front with all the points scored by Jonathon Pelisse.

The second half gave more of Montpellier, relentless in attack and in defence superb, Robbins Tchale-Watchou had a couple of mammoth hits driving the opposition backwards and straight onto their rumps, there was only one team on show tonight the other Clermont were just not allowed to play!!! That man Pelissie added another penalty after Clermont under pressure infringed once more, and that makes 29 pts for the No.9. More tries were added through Francois Trinh-Duc who got himself a couple the first a good effort from Jimmy Nagusa who crash tackled the man with the ball and it finally came out to Francois Trinh-Duc who powered over, and of course the extras added by, what’s his name!!!  Of course Pelissie who else. Montpellier 36 Clermont 3, not long after Pelissie broke clear again, the forwards went into the ruck like steam trains blasting the defenders into automatic reverse, the ball came out and FTD, showed his strength at close quarters, ball in hand he went inside then outside the space had been created and over in the hallowed ground he went, and he added the extras himself Pelissie/Trinh-Duc 43 Clermont 3, a screen writer could not have done much better, total domination from Montpellier, the forwards were superb, with Mickeal Ivaldi having his best game of the season so far, the forward aggression was 100% and everything they did was demonstrated by the excellent ball which Pelissie used time and time again, in the centre Wynand Olivier and Anthony Tuitavake are becoming a super partnership and both wingers showed they were very present in everything they did, and Le Chinois Anthony Floch just proved again that he is a first rate fullback, maybe Vern Cotter is now regretting letting him go, but thanks all the same Vern!!! Francois Trinh-Duc again showed International class at 10, his game management is improving beyond all expectations, every game new horizons are being conquered, someone somewhere is going to notice EVENTUALLY!!!! With the Autumn Internationals just round the corner could Philip St. Andre make a very bold decision and employ both 9 and 10 from Montpellier on this evenings showing they certainly deserve it, but is he that adventurous, I don’t think so!!!!  It will not be long before we see Jonathon Pelissie wearing that French No.9 shirt especially if he keeps this form going.

Confidence higher than any Volcanoes from Auvergne, Montpellier is off to Paris, again next Friday evening for another very testing challenge: the Friday love affair with Canal + continues!!!

Pitch side interview with Anthony Tuitavake Montpellier’s Centre.

Steve Whittell: Anthony Tuitavake you have just outplayed and beaten one of the best teams in Europe? Must feel good!!!

Anthony Tuitavake:  You know it’s a funny game rugby, you have always the opportunity to get up there and play the best especially when it’s in front of a huge home crowd, last week we were sadly lacking in all corners, and then there are whose days when everything is almost perfect. The boys today were up for the challenge and came out onto the park with only one thing in their minds, winning but winning in style and I think we managed to do this for the supporters, and of course it will do our confidence no harm whatsoever.

Steve Whittell:  Defence or attack you could see the whole team was up for the challenge tonight.

Anthony Tuitavake: We had to bring a physical edge to the game tonight, Clermont are one of the best attacking teams in Europe, so we had to attack them from the very start, but also making sure that our defence was up to scratch at the same time, never easy against a team of Clermont’s class, I think we proved to night we are up for the challenge and can take on anyone in the TOP 14 this season. We now need to try and found some consistency away from home, next Friday we are at Stade Francais who are contesting everything this season, and a brand new stadium to boot, so we have a difficult task ahead of ourselves, but we are up for it and want to prove that Montpellier are not just an excellent home team, but can win away on the road as well.

Steve Whittell: Cheers Alex that was some win go and celebrate with the rest of the boys, you deserve this one. Montpellier 43 Clermont 3 that is not seen often !!!

Interview & resume by Steve Whittell.