MONTPELLIER TAKE THE HONOURS AND 5 POINTS.
MONTPELLIER TAKE THE HONOURS AND 5POINTS.
The visitors this early Sunday evening was Brive, a difficult team to beat as they are always in your face and perform to a level often above their capacity, and with the International games this weekend Montpellier had 8players on duty 5 for France and 3 for Georgia, so the team selected by Xavier Garbajosa had a very different look to it, all the same it was good to see the centre partnership of Goosen and Serfontein back from injury.
Montpellier started the game, Alex Lozowski sent the ball high into the Brive 22, this was his first start for the club at No10, the first few minutes both teams were sizing each other up and there was plenty of harsh, but fair defending from both teams, the first points on the board were from a Lozowski penalty, 3-0 for the hosts, he followed with another penalty 6-0 mins. later, although this team was very new to each other they played with enthusiasm and some good rugby was being played.
The first try of the game came in the 14th min. an interception by Reilhac who made good progress, with the ball coming out to Tisseron who went over in the corner for his first try of the season, the extras were missed by Lozowski but Montpellier had an 11-0 lead, there was a video for another try for Montpellier but it was refused after the big screen showed an infringement, very unlucky for the young Reilhac. Brive got a penalty back from Herve but the play was all Montpellier and if it was not for some elementary mistakes the boys could have had a couple or more tries.
Minutes before half time, again Reilhac broke the ranks and served Serfontein on a platter for his first try of the season, the extras hit the post and stayed out but 16-3 for Montpellier, Brive did get a penalty just before half time again Herve was successful.
Half time was just about to be called when Serfontein used his skills to tap the ball forward for Lozowski to collect and go over into the hallowed ground he added the extras himself and Montpellier went to the break 21-6 ahead and with 3tries they already had the bonus point but with 40mins to go they needed to make sure they kept it
The second half started and Montpellier continued to show their domination, again small mistakes stopped them from scoring, sometimes it as some shabby lineout throws or a scrum which was solid one moment and then turned in tatters by the Brive forwards the next.
The very fact that this team had not played together was always going to be a problem, attacking ball in hand did hinder their advances, but their defence was excellent and apart from one or two scary moments Brive never really threatened the Montpellier try line.
Montpellier continued to dominate without scoring while Brive had to do an awful amount of tackling in defence. After some near misses and plenty of hard work the 4th try came from new signing Forletta, Timu who was having an excellent game at No.8 broke the Bive defence and came up just short the Montpellier forwards hammered into the ruck and Forletta dived over for his first try of the season, the extras were added by Lozowski 30-6. This was the final score of the game and with the bonus point well secured Montpellier could finish the game of with relative ease. Finally the ref blew for full time and Montpellier had the 5pts in their pockets, 10pts in the last 2 games which will shoot Montpellier up the table from the lower depths. The game was far from perfect but there was plenty of good team work and it will only boost the confidence for the boys who after 3 defeats are trying hard to set the pendulum in the right direction.
Man of the Match for me was Corbus Reinach he did everything that is asked from a scrum half, his service was excellent, he defended well, and when he set off with the pigskin he is very difficult to stop. Martin Devergie had a good game stealing several ruck balls and a very busy Bismark Du Plessis when he came off the bench had his hands everywhere and made a complete nuisance of himself at every maul and ruck, but he has been doing the same for years now so this is nothing new, but still a pleasure to watch. Timu played well at No.8 and had plenty of charges forward with the ball, and of course the young Reilhac did his usual fine performance always difficult to stop with the ball in hand.
Next week it’s off to Lyon which will be an entirely different kettle of fish, they took the points at Toulouse this weekend. Coach Garbajosa will be preparing the boys for this coming match and some hard work this week may well see Montpellier going to Lyon looking for some points hopefully at least 4of them.