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Le 07 mars 2011


Playing the last game of this weekends 20th  day of the seasons TOP 14 is always an advantage, the results are laid before you so everybody knows exactly what has to be done to progress. Montpellier was the hosts of Agen for Saturday evenings Gala Game shown live by Canal Plus.
Friday morning bad news for Montpellier, Benji Thiery could not keep his place because of illness and he was replaced by the young Jean Mat Alcalde at fullback.
Agen on the back of an incredible home win against Toulon, were coming to Montpellier in desperate need of as many points as they could get their hands on to maintain their survival with the elite next season.
The way the match started they meant business, from the off Agen were by far the more aggressive of the two teams and showed Fighting Spirit that would have got them citizenship in any Irish Province. Both teams came close to scoring but each final effort came unstuck just in front of the hallowed ground, but Agen wanted to show the rugby world that they were going to try their very best to stay in the TOP 14 next season.
Montpellier did open the scoring through the boot of Martin Bustos-Moyano after 2 close misses but the good rugby was coming from Agen. The visitors got their just deserves after a magnificent break from fly half Bernard who served his winger Vaka on a plate, to run in the first try of the game, Bernard added the extras and the half time score Montpellier 3 Agen 7.
The second half saw a series of penalties given to Montpellier and Bustos-Moyano had his kicking boots firmly in place and the score progressed to 12- 7 for Montpellier.
Time and time again Montpellier tried to run the ball out of danger in their own 22 and paid the price, when a big boot up field was needed, Champagne rugby was on the menu WRONG!!! Agen took advantage of Montpellier not clearing their lines and sneaked in for another try by scrum half Bales, once again Barnard added the conversion. 12-14 to the visitors. Again Bustos-Moyano regained the lead for the home side with another penalty 15-14, only to see that lead lost again when Montpellier tried to force the running in their own 22, Agen back in the lead 15-17, immediately from the kick off Agen infringed and our trusty Argentinean regained the lead 18-17, with only 3 minutes to go after continued pressure from the home pack Julien Tomas recovered the ball from a ruck and dived over for the try that finally put the nail in the Agen coffin, Bustos-Moyano added the extra 2 points, 25 -17. 
All over, as far as Agen were concerned it certainly was not, back they came and attacked the Montpellier line, the bonus point they had just lost had brought anger and injustice, and after 2 minutes of pummelling the opponents try line the replacement hooker Mach scrambled into that 5 mts. of paradise, Tian duly converted and Agen got their just deserves. Final score Montpellier 25 Agen 24 OUFF!!!
Montpellier’s ugliest match of the season, but they walked away with victory, last season they would have lost this match, but that was last season, winning ugly is a merit that sometimes has to be used, after all it’s the winning 4 points that are recorded, and not the mistakes, the bad choices, or the missed tackles, a lesson will hopefully be learned, Saturday evening saw half a dozen of the Montpellier’s nine lives disappear!!! The quest continues next week at La Rochelle where Montpellier will have to be a little more astute if they are going to come away with points and not empty seashells.
Steve Whittell.