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Le 18 mai 2011


If you add the words COURAGE, TEAM SPIRIT, and the will to never DIE or say NO, to the title, you have more or less the description of Saturday’s ¼ final play-off match against Castres.
Castres unbeaten at home this season, finishing 3rd with 76 points, they were very much favourites for this incredible encounter. Loaded with International stars, the mighty Tekori, All Black and Club Captain Chris Masoe, master points scorer Mon “Robocop”, Romain Teulet, just to mention a few, a difficult proposition for Montpellier, but they had nothing to loose and everything to gain their first ever qualification for the end of season play-offs and that almighty shield the Bouclier de Brennus the coveted prize for the eventual Final winners in Paris on the 4th June.
In front of a full capacity crowd with 1,500 travelling Montpellier supporters who never stopped cheering their heroes, everyone was impatient for the start of this Gala game. 
The start was not good for Montpellier who found themselves 7 points to the worse after only 5 mins, with the ever present Diarra going over in the corner, “Robocop” Teulet add the extras. Minutes later Martin Bustos-Moyano started the score board moving for Montpellier with a penalty in the 8th min. The order of the day for Montpellier was defend,  Castres came again and again battering the visitors line but our Cistes held their nerve tackling like demons and nobody passed, although there were moments when Castres got within inches of scoring. During the first half Martin Bustos-Moyano added another 2 penalties, one a mighty blow from 50mts for Montpellier taking them into the lead 7-9 after 39 mins. but with seconds to go before half time Castres attacked the Montpellier line , the visitors scrum was in difficulty and Figallo was awarded a yellow, the home side chose the scrum and 3 times it went down , giving Mon. Maciello the perfect opportunity to award Castres a penalty try under the sticks “Robocop” added the extras. Half time 14-9 to Castres.
The second half saw Montpellier camped on their own line for long periods of time but whatever Castres tried Montpellier threw their bodies at everything and anything that came their way, the defence was supreme, never breached, the Gaul’s Asterix and Obelix, would have been proud to let Montpellier defend their village at anytime against the mighty Romans.
Martin Bustos-Moyano added 2 more penalties to edge back into the lead 14-15, but there was still 26 mins before the final whistle.
In the 54th min. Aliki Fakate copped a yellow for a high tackle on Diarra and Teulet obliged with the 3 points Castres back in front17-15 and Montpellier down to 14 men, or was it 14 GIANTS because they had to defend and that is exactly what they did, pure courage and they threw themselves at the advancing Castrais, no one shirked their duties, battered and bruised they kept the home side from passing into the Hallowed ground.
In the 71 min. Montpellier made a very rare excursion into the Castres half earning themselves a penalty that Martin Bustos6Moyano duly converted, Montpellier back in front 17-18, but still 9 minutes on the clock.
Castres were all over the visitors but tackle after tackle the Castrais were knocked down and knocked back, then disaster a penalty for Castres with exactly 1min. to the whistle, Teulet was 45mts out but for this magic boot it should have been no problem , the Montpellier supporters could not watch, Eric Bechu was praying , in fact everybody from Montpellier were either praying or had their eyes closed, up stepped Teulet and he thumped the leather, it just went wide, salvation but still time left for Castres.
The final play was a touch for Castres and the GIANT Vasilli Bost stole from the lineout and the ball was run into touch and the ref blew whistle. All the players must be congratulated for their courage, spirit and sheer bloody mindness, a match that will rest in the hearts of all who were present!!!! What followed was incredible...
After the handshakes the whole team was enveloped by the supporters, there were tears, chants laughter pure euphoria; never had Montpellier witnessed scenes like this before.
The final nail in Castres coffin was a rousing ICI ICI C’EST MONTPELLIER…
Montpellier will play Racing Metro on Sat. the 28th May in Marseille for a place in the FINAL. Still hard to believe but Montpellier had made history again twice in 2 weeks where will it stop.
Steve Whittell.