The Clermontois fulfilled their part of the market by imposing themselves with authority against a big team from Montpellier at the end of a match of great intensity. It was not necessary to expect miracles from the side of Toulouse which largely imposed itself against Biarritz making it impossible to qualify for the final stages. However, the victory is precious because it offers a place in the Champions Cup. Morgan Parra, Camille Lopez and the starters largely contributed to this success before receiving the deserved tribute from a Michelin full of emotions.
Clermont (Marcel-Michelin stadium) mild weather, excellent pitch, 18,546 spectators. Clermont beats Montpellier 20 to 15 (half-time: 7-3) Arbitration by M. Poite
Clermont: 2 attempts by Beria (8e) and Barracks (53e), 2 penalties from Parra (42e) and Lopez (74e) and 2 Parra transforms
Montpellier : x Rattez trials (51e) and Aparsidze (67e), a penalty (51e) of Paillaugue and a transformation of Garbisi
A shock of big arms
Faced with a Hérault pack that was always difficult to maneuver, the Clermontois did what was necessary to take possession of the territory, putting a constant commitment in the contact zones. In the wake of a pack of dominating forwards, the Michelin began to bubble and multiplied the strength of the Auvergnats who besieged the 22-meter Hérault. Behind a mackerel Morgan Parra as he likes to be and an incisive Camille Lopez the movements follow one another and Giorgi Beria crosses the line of the MHR from the 8th minute of the meeting. A few inaccuracies on both sides will cause the intensity of the start of fire desired by Jono Gibbes’ men to be lost, but they remain in the MHR camp thanks to a sparkling Fritz Lee as well as a whole pack in the advance. Despite all their determination in the image of Morgan Parra, painful on his MHR counterpart as behind this scrum where he hinders a ball exit and puts a lot of pressure on the Montpellier residents, the defense of the championship leader holds and will no longer take the slightest point and will not offer more ammunition to the Clermont scorers who even see Benoit Paillaugue reduce the mark a few minutes before the break (7-3).
A goodbye from the bottom of my heart…
On returning from the locker room, the Montpellier team will show a completely different face, even if Morgan Parra adds 3 points at the very start of the period. Dominators at the level of ball possession, the big guys from the MHR take their revenge and multiply the penal-touches. If the forwards are countered, the three-quarters take over and find the solution on the small side where Vincent Rattez slips by, forgotten by the Auvergne defenders. Montpellier becomes threatening, but the danger will be almost immediately repelled by the Clermont attackers who respond tit for tat in the wake of a Damian Penaud of the big nights, dangerous with each of his ball shots, who finds after a huge breach Jean Pascal Barraque entered a few minutes earlier for an unstoppable try at the end of the line. Morgan Parra transformed from the touchline and gave his team a small margin before leaving the Michelin in a pure moment of emotion which suspended the Michelin for a few moments. It’s a strong moment for the yellow and blue who are more and more pressing around the line of the MHR. Two tries will be refused to Sébastien Vahaamahina and Morgan Parra no matter Clermont holds the lead and even if Garbisi rushes into an interval to make Aprasidze shine (67e), Camille Lopez fires a final penalty which keeps the Héraulters at a distance, thus avoiding an end to the match that could switch to a penalty. The whole team will finish the job to hold this last ball that Sébastien Bezy will send to the stands delivering a Michelin full of pleasure at the idea of keeping his place in the European Elite and ready to celebrate players who have it dream so much
Clermont did not shake and probably delivered one of his best performances on physical density and consistency over 80 minutes. A great way to honor its historic hinge and the players who will leave the club in the coming days. Victory also secures a place in the Champions Cup for next season. A great way to say “goodbye”.
The Clermont team: 1.Beria, 2.Fourcade, 3.Falatea, 4.Jedrasiak, 5.Vahaamahina (cap), 6.Cancoriet, 7.Van Tonder, 8.Lee, 9.Parra, 10.Lopez, 11.Pourailly, 12.Vili, 13.Penaud, 14.O’Connor, 15.Tiberghien
Replacements: 16.Pelissié, 17.Bibi Biziwu, 18.T.Lanen, 19.Dessaigne, 20.Bézy, 21.Hanrahan, 22.Barraque, 23.Slimani.
The Montpellier team: 1.Lamositele, 2.Amosa, 3.Haouas, 4.Verhaeghe, 5.Chalureau, 6.Van Rensburg, 7.Camara (cap), 8.Mercer, 9.Paillaugue, 10.Gabrisi, 11.NGandebe, 12.Serfontein, 13.Doumayrou, 14.Rattez, 15.Bouthier
Replacements: 16.Guirado, 17.Rodgers, 18.Capelli, 19.Becognée, 20.Aprasidze, 21.Pollard, 22.Vincent, 23.Thomas.