• ChroniqueChronique

Pride, passion and aggression disappeared !

Le 19 février 2019

The visitors this weekend for the 16th day of this season’s TOP 14 were down the road neighbours Perpignan, newly promoted this season and having played 15 games with 15 defeats not a pretty record, They are laying bottom with just 4 points they have also lost all their European Challenge games. Obviously the whisperings around the GGL Stadium was a 5point win for Montpellier which would move them nearer to that top 6 qualifying position. One lesson to be learned first win the game and then chat about bonus points, as what happened was difficult to be believe or understand.

Taking nothing away from a very valiant USAP, who tackled like demons and kept the ball tight through long phases of play with some very good field kicking to help them out of defence. They were aggressive and stuck to their game plan giving very little to the hosts Montpellier, they played to the limit of offside most of the match but then who wouldn’t if you can get away with it, as the ref in charge seemed to be looking more at the faults coming from Montpellier, but that is no excuse for the weak and woeful demonstration that Montpellier gave their spectators this early Saturday evening.

Within minutes of the match starting USAP were 10-0 to the good, a first penalty by Selponi who was formed by Montpellier, then a gift try, Montpellier attack and lose the ball, Pujol on his way to the try line outsprints the defence and goes over in the corner; Selponi adds the extras and USAP are two scores in front. Minutes later the very same Selponi added another penalty after another fault from Montpellier, 13-0 and the hosts had the sticks to beat themselves up and not the opposition, this was bottom of the barrel participation from Montpellier and the game was only 30mins old. Benoit Paillaugue got a penalty back for Montpellier but it was very meagre pickings as most of the play was coming from the visitors; On the stroke of half time after repeated penalties and yellow card for Boutamani for repeated infringements by his team, Montpellier were awarded a penalty try, this saw the end to the first half, the score 10-16 and although Montpellier were showing nothing of great interest they were back in the game with another 40mins to play, enough time to grind out a victory.

The second half got under way and it did not get any better for the hosts Montpellier, the young and very efficient Selponi continued to ask for his kicking tee and kept timing his boot to perfection banging over a total of another 4 penalties to accelerate the score to a final 10-28 for Perpignan. Apart from the continued domination from USAP the hosts showed very little in combat and as the game continued the heads were lowered and the combativity came down to next to nothing. 

Whatever has to be done needs to be done quickly and efficiently, as the bottom of the barrel is just about there. Players need to concentrate on their playing game. The pride and passion needs to be re-established back into the hearts and souls of this team.It’s been there before but for the moment it is nowhere to be seen, there is so much work that needs to be done.  With Toulouse away from home next week there are certain problems which have to be addressed before next Saturday.

Steve Whittell.