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Le 21 février 2011


Saturday afternoon was a pleasant enough day to play rugby, two teams both needing points to keep or improve their positions in this seasons TOP 14, and a great match in prospective.
Geoff Doumayrou was caught with a stomach bug and had to give up his place, so he was replaced by Seta Tuilevuka, and Alex Tulou took the No.8 shirt for the first time in his very short but interesting Montpellier career.
The match was a very bizarre affair with 9 tries, 5 for Castres and 4 for Montpellier, a game strewn with errors from Montpellier who ceased not to give late Christmas presents to the home side, it was a shame Montpellier did not play in red they could have resembled more the Father Christmas’s they were portraying. The 2 teams exchanged tries throughout the game, in the first half alone it was 3 tries each, Forestier, and twice Andreu, for Castres, Captain Fantastic Ouedraogo, Bustos-Moyano and Mika Ladhuie for Montpellier at half time 23-19 the crowd had already had their monies worth.
The second half was much the same but this half Mon. Maciello the man in the middle was much more in evidence, sending Montpellier back 10 mts. time and time again, plus a yellow card at a crucial time of the game, maybe deserved but still very harsh for Vassili Bost who had only been on the park for less than 20minutes. More tries quickly came, soon to be Montpellerian Audrin, then a penalty try which one sensed was coming, plus buckets full of points from the boot of Teulet for Castres, while Montpellier got one back from the young and promising winger Pierre Berard.
One massive decision stole the defending bonus point from Montpellier!!! Montpellier were given a penalty 5 mts. from the Castres line, Mamuka Gorgodze charged and was tackled just before the line but he still managed to get over into the Hallowed ground the ref went to the video, the result, no try and a penalty for Castres for a double movement by Mamuka, at no time were Castres penalised because they did not retreat the statuary 10 mts, they should have been at least on their own try line, but they were not!!! This weekend the same infringement but another game, the penalty try was awarded, nothing less than a scandal, but to no avail the ref stood by his decision and Montpellier came away empty handed when a well deserved point would have been merited.
Another bad luck story of the weekend Timmy Nagusa was stretched off after only 9 mins. with a shoulder injury that will keep him sidelined for 4/6 weeks. All in all a great match if you were a spectator but the result did nothing for Montpellier’s morale, but all is not lost we have 2 weeks to get things sorted before a very crucial home game Montpellier v Agen on the 5th March where a victory with bonus point to boot will go a long way to putting the Organ Grinders machine back in forward motion. 
Before that there is a certain CRUNCH, England v France next Saturday afternoon, with both teams undefeated in this years 6 Nations this could well be the final of all finals. 
Steve Whittell.