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Le 13 mai 2013


Once again Montpellier came up short in their ¼ final play-offs against Castres on Saturday afternoon. The third time in 3 years these two sides have been matched together and for the second season on the trot Castres came out worthy winners. The match was completely one sided with Castres doing their homework well, making sure that the Montpellierrean attack was never in top gear and at every break down the home side were first to the ball and often stole throughout the match. For reasons hard to understand Montpellier were never really present, was it the occasion, or was nerves, who knows but they never got out of the starting blocks and were constantly on the back foot. Only Benoit Paillaugue shone with his boot passing 4 penalties, others worth mentioning were, Combezou, Bias, and again the young Sicart at fullback all played their hearts out, but that was never going to be enough. Castres were mentally far stronger, quicker to the break downs and their aggression was so evident that Montpellier had little to offer in their feeble and indiscipline resistance. They also had down their homework on Mamuka Gorgodze, who was subject to maximum attention knowing full well that if he snapped a yellow card was never far away. Mister Poite the referee for the match is know for dealing with indiscipline, this seemed to have been ignored by Montpellier as they faulted in abundance just as he was warming up with penalties galore against Montpellier out came the Yellow card and Mamuka was sent marching to the cooler for 10 mins, at this level no one can afford to play with only 14 players on the park. Minutes later Classens took off from the base of a 5mts scrum and barged over, no one was going to stop him from that distance. The break was made and even when Montpellier had 15 on the park they could make no inroads into the Castres 22. The match was never going to be an all running affair there was to much at stake, Castres knew that and closed down Montpellier attack with comparative ease, gaining turn over ball on countless occasions, and in the end they came out easy winners,  the score at the final whistle Castres 25 Montpellier 12.
This winds up the season for Montpellier and holidays are very close, a large number of players will be leaving the club for pastures new, and we wish them the very best with their new clubs. The players who are staying may have to look long in the mirror, yes H Cup qualification has been achieved but that home tie ¼ final place was not, more points were gained than last season and the same 5th place in the Top 14, is this enough to satisfy the President that remains to be seen, expectations were very high this season and they have not  been fulfilled, whether the influx of class players arriving for next season will make the difference that is needed to achieve and advance we will have to wait and see.
 Montpellier have become a force in the today’s  Top 14 but they are still not in that elite Top 4 which is the clubs desire, efforts will have to be made on all fronts if the podium is to be to be part of Montpellier’s future, but before that is ensured, Discipline has to be conquered...
Steve Whittell.