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PRIDE HAS TO BE EARNED

Le 07 janvier 2021

After a very strange and troublesome couple of weeks where Montpellier had defeats away at La Rochelle and then home to Toulouse, the change of head coach Garbajosa, with PSA taking over the role till the end of the season, and various player meetings to get everything straightened out before this midweek match vs Lyon ( postponed because of Covid) was to take place on this Wednesday night. Various comments on how the pride of this club has slipped and what the players were going to do about it, and hopefully it was going to start at Lyon tonight. Lyon had lost their last 2 games so they needed a win and the points that go with it, so all in all both teams had everything to prove. Montpellier had made 14 changes from their game against Toulouse with some youngsters making their first appearance this season, Jules Bertry, Samuel Maximin, Gela Aprasidze just to name a few, but so far this season the youngsters have displayed a hunger to get involved and hopefully it will be the same tonight.

The game got underway and Montpellier did not have a great start with Samuel Maximin getting shown a yellow after only 4 minuts for a late tackle after the referee had blown for an infringement. What was evident was the PRIDE in the way the boys went about their tasks, even though PSA first selection was different it showed from the start that every effort was being made to give the 100% needed to try and win this game. After 6 minuts, Jean-Marc Doussain scored the first try for Lyon he was given massive boulevard to Waltz through, he also added the extras 7-0 for the hosts, this was a set back for the boys but they kept on fighting no heads were dropping, but they did lose Thomas Darmon early on to a leg injury, La Paille moved to No.10 and Aprasidze to No.9 something we have not seen for a long time, Benoit Paillaugue at 10 this goes back to the early Fabien Galthie days. Jonathan Pelissie added another try for Lyon and the extras were added 14-0 the boys were fighting hard but not scoring. Finally after great work from the forwards, Levan Chilachava stormed over, the extras were added by Gela Aprasidze the score 14-7 with just 7minuts to go before half time, if they could hold Lyon to that score the second half could be very interesting. It was not to be Lyon scored in the final minuts before half time with Patrick Sobela going over and Jean-Marc Doussain adding the extras, 21-7 at half time.

The second half would have to be all Montpellier if they were going to get anything out of this game; they started well with Vincent Martin going over under the sticks after only 14 minuts, the extras added la Paille and Montpellier were back in this game 21-14. Both teams threw caution to the wind and attacked there were some near misses but both defences held strong both teams hit a penalty apiece to move the score onto 24-17, La paille added another penalty for Montpellier to get them into the defensive bonus point with 10 minuts left on the clock. Montpellier could still win this game they tried their level best but the Lyon defence held out and when the whistle blew for full time Lyon were more relieved than Montpellier to just scrape through with the victory 24-20. The end of the game showed the faces of Montpellier more content than that of the opposition, yes they had lost but they had lost with PRIDE there is still a very long road for the boys to climb out of this position, they are in 13th in the TOP 14 but tonight they showed what they are capable of when the going gets at its toughest.

Next Sunday another tough game against Brive this Montpellier have to win as both teams are only 4 points adrift of one another. This game showed what Montpellier are about when the chips are down hopefully this will continue under the direction of PSA and more game will be won than lost.

Steve Whittell.