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Le 28 janvier 2013


After the magnificent H Cup victory over Toulon last weekend, Montpellier return to the weekly hardship of the TOP 14, this Friday evening they are away to Agen.
Lying equal on 18 points with Bordeaux and in a relegation place the home side desperately needs points to climb the table and get out of trouble, Montpellier on the other hand had dropped to 6th place behind Grenoble and Castres, they needed an away win to restart their quest for that 4th place finish and a home tie barrage.
Needless to say after the Toulon battle the bodies were battered, and another hard game on the cards against Agen to follow the question was, is there anything left in the tank ?  Also this week a gastro epidemic hit the team grounding Amorosino, Berard, Fernandez and on match day Beattie became the latest victim, all this did not bode well for an away win.
With Club Captain Fulgence Ouedraogo still injured Mamuka Gorgodze was once again given the responsibility of leading the side his 4th time and still unbeaten every time he is Captain, was this an omen?
The game itself was a hard fought battle upfront with Agen showing plenty of forward dominance especially from their Islanders with Fonua leading the charge from the No 8 post Time and time again with ball in hand he led his team mates on the charge but the Montpellier defence was there for all to see, it had not changed from the previous Toulon game.
Jimmy Nagusa was showing his ball skills as often as possible sometimes the choices were not always brilliant but in the 18th minute he grabbed the ball out of a ruck with no Agen forward in opposition and scampered the 30 yds to the line virtually unopposed, first try to Montpellier which MBM added the extras. Only minutes later a high ball which Francois Trinh-Duc collected with extreme skill only to see Seymour the Agen fullback hit him in mid air and the International did a full spin landing on his head, the following seconds looked very bad for the Montpellier No.10 but he was soon on his feet, the Ref did say he had no option but to give Seymour a red, probably a silly mistake more than a dangerous play but the consequences could have been extremely serious and he had to go !!!
Playing against 14 Montpellier probably thought the match already was won and they fell into a little slumber, this gave Agen the desire and momentum to go to work on their opposition, Montpellier had to defend for their lives, with ball in hand they looked dangerous but made some bad choices and silly errors.
There were no more tries, only 3 penalties for Barnard and 2 for MBM, Montpellier did get 2 yellows, both De Marco, and Van Vuuren sent to the bin for continual team infringements, but the defence held strong, the last few minutes were spent on their own try line as Agen pummelled the line but a magnificent Arsene Lupin type steal from Francois Trinh-Duc put paid to the very last efforts from the home side. Final score Agen  9  Montpellier 13.
This game will never be shown to youngsters learning the game but it will be remembered for Montpellier’s sheer guts and perseverance obtaining those 4 very precious points.
Play badly and win is the etchings of a side on the move upwards, this team is still raw but talented, its enthusiasm and team spirit is beyond belief and long may it continue!!!!
Next week the players are on a well deserved holiday till the following Monday, where they will start the preparation of the next home match against Biarritz, which is on Sat. 9th Feb ko.20.40, Montpellier will be without their Internationals all of whom are on 6 Nations duty     ( Trinh-Duc, Ouedraogo, Beattie and maybe the Georgians Gorgodze and Nariashvili who could well be selected for the 2013 Nations Cup) but Biarritz will probably be at  more or less full strength as they  have only Lauret on International call-up, another extremely difficult evening for the home side, every game now till the end of the season will be a battle for superiority.
Steve Whittell.