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Le 04 mars 2013


The end of season play-off match against Castres looks on the books again this year, as both clubs are still fighting a battle Royal for that 4th place and a home tie in the play-offs.  Montpellier was the visitor to Pierre Antoine Saturday afternoon in front of a good crowd of 8,114 just short of maximum for Castres. The game like many previous was fast exciting and came right down to the last minute before Castres came away with the spoils by 26-20, but the defensive bonus point was deserved and well earned by a Montpellier who never gave in.
Montpellier were the first on the score board with a precise cross kick from Francois Trinh-Duc into the arms of Amorosino who beat 2 defenders and fell just short of the line but managed to give the ball to the young speed merchant Artru who crossed without opposition under the posts, Paillaugue added the extras. Both kickers Kockott and Paillaugue added a couple of penalties each to bring the score to 6-13. On the 28th min. Artru split the home defence wide open and after good forward play Creevy dived over for another 5 points which again the Little Big Man converted. 6-20 to the visitors. Minutes later  the Montpellier defence came up just too quickly leaving acres of space behind,  a grubber kicker from Tales and Brice Mach collected and dived over to bring Castres back into the game just before half time, Kockott added the extras and at the pause the score 16-20 to Montpellier. A first half which was excellent for Montpellier but could they hold onto that slender lead in the second. 
The fist action in the second half was a yellow for Drikus Hancke and 10 minutes with only 14 on the park for Montpellier. Another attack by Castres who playing with the extra man started to dominate the affair, but Tales lost the ball over the line and the try was disallowed, but it was starting to get hot under the collar for Montpellier. Marc Andreu who came on in the first half after an injury to Tuelet started to create havoc in the Montpellier defence, this guy is nearly impossible to tackle he zigs and zags and is so close to the deck that no one can keep hold of him, and after good work by the Castres front five up popped Andreu again, to go over the line and Castres got their noses in front for the first time in the game, Kockott added the extras 23-20. The very same added another penalty to advance the score to 26-20 but Montpellier managed to hang on for the rest of the match to keep that precious bonus point in their possession. Kockott did have one last chance to add to the score and put the bonus point out of reach of the visitors with another penalty but he attempt struck the upright and Montpellier breathed a sigh of relief. Montpellier played with heart and soul throughout this match and was again well led by Mamuka Gorgodze, who was standing in for injured Capt Fulgence Ouedraogo, Trinh-Duc was finding brilliant form especially with the boot his kicking was superb, and the forwards worked well as a unit, Alex Tulou again a source of power from No.8.
That 4th place is still in sight but there is little room for error and with the TOP 14 pushing the standard up every week nothing can be taken for granted, but the bonus point well deserved and keeps Montpellier on the up going forward. Next Friday 8th March KO. 20.50 Montpellier is host to Racing Metro who after this weekend’s victory over Grenoble are in 6th place on exactly the same points as Montpellier (54). The tough matches will only stop when the season is over, 6 matches left 3 at home, all have to be won and maybe even at least one away victory if that 4th place is to be secured. Next Friday is the Journee au Femme (Ladies Day), 1000 match tickets are available at only 8€ each but as it’s the girls day you have to dress like them if you want a bargain price, go on line to the Billetterie and tap the code FEMME92, but remember you must turn up dressed as a girlie, lipstick and all!!!!!
Steve Whittell.