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Le 25 mars 2013


The motto of the SAS, which could have been appropriate for Montpellier’s mission on Saturday evening a commando style outing to Grenoble in the Stade Lesdiguieres where the home side were playing their last match and were unbeaten since May 2011, a massive task but in typical SAS fashion the orders were, go, win, get out!!!!
The Montpellier coaches had decided to rest back row players Gorgodze and Beattie after their International efforts but the team sent to do the business was still full of class with a determination second to none.
The first half was all Montpellier and most of it was played in the Grenoble 22, the visitors had a series of scrums close to the home side’s line but their defence held strong and Montpellier kept falling short of that white line. Eventually after good work from the forwards the ball was quickly spun out to Francois Trinh-Duc who saw the gap, accelerated, and was over the line under the posts for the first and only try of the game, the Little Big Man, Paillaugue added the extras, 7-0 to Montpellier. Courrent managed a couple of penalties before half time to bring the score to 7-6 in favour of the visitors, but Grenoble had spent much of their energy in the first half defending and twice they were down to 14 players as yellow cards were given to Sowerby for a shoulder tackle and Mutapcic for foul play, but Montpellier could only score the one try while having superior numbers on the park.
After the break the home side were more into the game and came close to scoring on several occasions but the Montpellier defence stood firm and all the doors were firmly shut to the home team. Penalties were exchanged one for Stewart and 3 for Montpellier, 2 from Paillaugue and the last came from replacement kicker Martin Bustos Moyano. Finally the ref who did not have one of his best days blew time and Montpellier put the 4 points in their pockets and were already thinking about next weeks mission to Mont de Marsan another potential banana skin match. Alex Tulou put in another sterling performance alongside Alex Bias and Capt. Fulgence Oeudraogo, Francois Trinh-Duc confined to the International bench more or less for the last 5 weeks showed that he has still got plenty to offer and interchanged his game well between the boot and hands. Paul Bosch  played as Paul Bosch, tackle, tackle and more tackle rarely is he found faulting in defence, but the rest of the team put in a massive effort and  made this victory possible although not the prettiest game ever played,  Montpellier deserved their 4 points. Congratulations also to Hamish Gard who wore the colours his first appearance for Montpellier, recently signing as a medical replacement for Shontyne Hape.
This coming Tuesday is “The Midol Oscar for Mamuka Gorgodze” in the banqueting halls of the Stade Yves du Manoir, a well deserved presentation and tribute for a Mamuka who lives and breathes Montpellier and is a great servant to the club, and then it’s back to hard grit and training, as next week another all important match away from home at Mont de Marsan who are already condemned to Pro D2 next season but are always a tricky side to beat at home plus they have absolutely nothing to loose for the rest of their season. 
Steve Whittell.