Match addressed in 12 minutes by the goals of Vincent, Verhaeghe and Bouthier, who give the first title to Saint-Andre’s team. The blue plays 68 minutes and makes the safety post before leaving the field
Paolo Garbisi’s Montpellier became French champions for the first time. In the final act of the Top 14 played at the Stade de France in Paris, Philippe Saint-Andre’s team conquered the Bouclier de Brennus by beating Castres 29-10, thus taking revenge after the final lost in 2018. Castres who had ended the regular season in first place with a 2-point lead over Montpellier.
The start is in favor of Castres who immediately tries to break through the 22 opponents, but from a lost ball in attack a nightmare is unleashed for Pierre-Henry Broncan’s team, which collects 3 tries in 12 minutes. The first was signed in the 6 ‘, after the defensive recovery of the extreme Anthony Bouthier, the wing Arthur Vincent, who crushes the flag on the grubber of the number 8 Zach Mercer. The second arrives at 10 ‘at the end of a formidable series of breakthroughs, with the last decisive pick and go of the second line Florian Verhaeghe. Two minutes pass and this time it is the trocar who grind meters, until Vincent’s last pass that frees the race on Bouthier’s right-hand side. Benoit Paillague only converts the second but the 17-0 already seems to open the way to Bouclier for Montpellier. As if that weren’t enough, a couple of minutes pass and a shot to the left ankle puts an end to the opening game and Castres’ starter, Benjamin Urdapilleta, replaced by Antoine Zeghdar. Paillague then at 21 ‘also slips the 20-0. Julien Dumora, who missed a 42-meter shot at 16 ‘, tries again at 34’, always from a very long distance (45 meters), but this time from a central position and puts the posts in, giving Castres the first points. Before the break, however, it is Paillague who makes a very easy one just under the posts after a free kick won by his scrum, for the 23-3 on which he goes to rest.
The start of recovery of Castres is furious, the 22 opponents are put to sword and fire by the breakthroughs of the forwards and the sprints of the backs. With Montpellier resorting to the infringement three times to avoid the goal, which seems to arrive when Dumora manages to break through, but with a fantastic technical gesture Nicolass van Rensburg (who took over from Verhaeghe) slaps him and with his forearm prevents the extreme of crushing the oval to the ground. Castres remains in attack, also gains a good scrum, from which Andrea Cocagi (replacing scrum-half Thomas Combezou) starts decidedly towards the goal line, but when he is tackled he has no support and commits the held that allows Montpellier to to breathe. Even if briefly: at 53 ‘it is in fact the pylon Wayan De Benedittis with a fantastic slalom, a mixture of agility and power, to find what seems to be the right opening, only to then imperceptibly lose the ball forward while, tackled by three men, is about to crush. In the 63rd minute, the referee judged an apparently normal tackle by van Rensburg on Jeremy Fernandez worthy of a yellow card, but the essence is that Montpellier will have 10 minutes of further suffering. In the 68th minute, a ground infringement by Levan Chilachava gives Garbisi the free kick, just before leaving the field to Handre Pollard. The blue opening half was the protagonist of an orderly direction and a reliable presence in defense, in a physically very expensive and constant pressure match, without acute, but solid as evidently required, with these numbers: 81 percent of successful tackles ( 9), 3 attacks and a conquered advantage line. 5 minutes from the end Castres finds the deserved counterattack goal by Vilimoni Botitu, who flies to recover a very long kick along the out with which Santi Arata had freed his 22, to then avoid Pollard and crush (Dumora transforms) . At 77 ‘, however, Pollard signs the place for the final 29-10.
June 24 – 11.37pm
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