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Le 23 octobre 2012


Whether the British journalists knew something that we didn’t, but they turned out in mass for Montpellier’s first home H Cup match against Sale Sharks, and guess what it was raining again. The last two wins against Castres and Racing Metro have both been in the pouring rain so Sunday afternoon was nothing new for the home side. In fact we were probably more used to it than our visitors who on the outskirts of Manchester surely must get weather wetter than here in Montpellier.
The game started well for the Sharks when Montpellier lost an attacking ball Cipriani produced a fine kick that Mark Cueto chased and scored in the corner, the conversion was missed. 0-5 to the Sharks, however Martin Bustos Moyano playing his first game in months as he was not used by the Argentineans in the 4 Nations Championship slotted over an early penalty, 3-5. Montpellier were showing good profile in the first half and dominated their English opponents up front but could not get across the try line, the ball becoming as slippery as soap and every time they came near, a dropped ball or forward pass ruined any chances of scoring, but the conditions had a lot to answer for.  Penalties were exchanged by both teams in the first half with Montpellier just getting the better of Sale going into the break 12-8 to the good.
The second half was a completely different kettle of fish, with Montpellier showing despite the continual down pour that they could run the ball at the Shark defence, firstly Francois Trinh –Duc, then Jimmy Nagusa, and finally Julien Tomas all went over in a mad 10 mins. of Montpellier mayhem, which broke the back of the Sharks, MBM converted all three tries to give Montpellier a good lead of 33-11... With more or less 20 mins. left to play everyone was thinking bonus point, Montpellier needed one more try and were well on top with the forwards now giving the Sharks a lesson in French scrimmaging, the visitors had only one gear and that was reverse, but the 4th try never came. Sale managed another score after a mistake in the line out by the home side and Vernon scored unopposed giving Sale another 7 points but they were only saving honour.
As much as Montpellier tried they could not cross that line again and the score remained at 33-18. A solid victory for our Cistes under atrocious conditions they played an excellent game and it was good preparation for next Saturday’s TOP 14 match against newly promoted Grenoble who are only one point behind Montpellier in 5th position ko.18.30
With the Autumn Internationals approaching Francois Trinh-Duc is finding good form and he orchestrated well from the no.10 spot, although his choices are not always perfect, he still shows bucketfuls of class when needed. Our dearly beloved Argentineans all 6 of them looked as though they had never left and played an excellent part with Chippie Figallo taking the H Cup Man of the Match, Mamuka Gorgodze played an excellent first 50 mins. and was then replaced by Alex Bias who did equally well, but the performance of the pack as a unit was worth its weight in gold, and if this continues, watch out Grenoble next Saturday evening!!!
Steve Whittell.
Pitch side interview with Jonnie Beattie Montpellier’s Scottish International No 8.
SW: Firstly Jonnie that was an excellent game, your first H Cup game for Montpellier, your thoughts please.
JB:  It was fantastic to get the first win in front of a home crowd despite the bad conditions, but I was pleased with my performance and if we continue to work hard the results will continue. Its never easy playing against the Brits they always come and seem to try that little bit harder against a French side must be in their waters but we came good in the end.
SW: It was a shame we could not squeeze in that 4th bonus point try.
JB:   It was never going to be easy with the rain, but we managed 3 good tries and they were all scored by some good attacking play and as all can see there were plenty of tried scored this weekend We played well up front as a unit especially in the 2nd half and showed just how strong we can be, but with the rain the ball got very slippery and the odd dropped or forward  pass just let us down but as they say a win is a win we take the 4 points and move on to Grenoble next weekend.
SW: Two home games against Grenoble and Mont de Marsan to come in the next couple of weeks?
JB: Definitely two very important games for Montpellier and two games we must win to continue to progress but nothing is taken for granted and Grenoble are having a remarkable season so far and they also will be coming here to disrupt but hopefully we will be ready for them!!!
SW: Cheers Jonnie must be time for a beer and hot shower.
Interview by Steve Whittell.