DEFENCE EXCELLENT, DISCIPLINE NEEDS ATTENTION.
First game of a new season and Covid nearly behind us, well at least the players are now able to play in front of capacity crowds which does create a better atmosphere for all and everyone involved. Montpellier’s task today is a visit to the Stade Mayol and Toulon, never easy and with both teams missing some of their all important International players there are lots of younger players drafted in either starting or on the bench.
Montpellier have had meagre spoils in the last few years so anything taken from Toulon is always a bonus as every point will count at the finish line and away points play a massive place in the qualification.
The game started with Montpellier giving away 4 penalties in the first 5minuts, not a great start to this new season as we now have an ex referee in charge of these sort of situations, but the boys played hard and their defence was excellent keeping all the Toulon attacks at bay.
When the three quarters had ball in hand they looked slick and often gained good ground, always good to see from a forwards point of view, there is less energy used moving forward than having to engage reverse gear too often.
With Anthony Belleau at 10 the Montpellier ill discipline gave him plenty of chances to score with the boot this he did missing just one throughout the game. However Montpellier did score a couple of tries to Toulon’s zero efforts on that front. The first was an excellent performance from Julien Tisseron who made ground, cut inside and dived over the line for the first try of the game the extras were missed and Toulon had a slender lead of 6-5. The boot of Belleau kept Toulon in front throughout the game and everytime Montpellier got close to Toulon’s score, another infringement and Belleau obliged. Half time came and the score at the break Toulon 12 Montpellier 8, all to play for and 40 minuts. left to get a result.
The second half got under way and if anyone was to score tries Montpellier looked the most likely, everything that Toulon threw at the boys in attack they soaked up with an excellent defence. Penalties from Belleau and Benoit Paillaugue kept the score board moving along but always to the advantage of Toulon, everytime Montpellier got close the Toulon no. 10 slotted over another 3 pointer, in all the 24 points. scored by Toulon all came from the boot of Belleau, work has to be done this week on Montpellier’s discipline.
The money time was fast approaching and Montpellier tried their level best to score but some bad choices and mistakes kept them from going over. With the clock running down to zero Montpellier had one massive assault on the Toulon try line, time after time they battered the defence until finally Zach Mercer ex Bath and his first game for the club plunged into the hallowed ground near to one of the sticks, the conversion was needed for the draw as time was now up on the refs clock, Louis Forsans Bourdette obliged and the extras were added, 24-24, the whistle sounded for the end of the game and Montpellier pocketed the 2pts which in hindsight I’m sure they accepted as not everyone will come away with pts. from Mayol.
Man of the Match was without doubt Zach Mercer, some excellent charges in the middle of the park and of course that all important try, he did his job well in defence, Gela Aprasdze did everything that was asked of him despite little game time while he has been at the club, the pack was strong and scrimmaged well, Guilhem Guirado leading the troops from the front as he has done all his career, the backs moved well with the ball in hand and given a little more ball they are capable of scoring with their speed and agility.
The next game will be at home next Sat. ko 15.00 the opposition Brive who won their first game against newly promote USAP 36-15 so as always never an easy game but that is now the norm in the TOP 14.
Massive gesture from President Mohed Altrad inviting all supporters free of charge to next Saturday. match vs Brive
Well done Pres and thank you!