Montpellier will once again taste the special atmosphere of the Stade de France. The MHR won the second ticket for the final of the Top 14 after their victory against Bordeaux-Bègles (19-10), Saturday June 18, at the Allianz Riviera in Nice. Hanging on in the first period, slightly ahead at the break (13-10), the Montpellier residents held their rank without cracking during a more choppy second period. They will challenge in the final the Castres, who defeated the Toulouse defending champion, on Friday June 24.
– Montpellier Rugby (@MHR_officiel) June 18, 2022
More on the offensive, physically fresher without a play-off in their legs, the Montpellier residents have gradually taken over a Bordeaux team that is too easily overwhelmed. On the lawn of Nice, they relied on a very effective kicking game, and inspired scorers (2 drops that made the difference, 14 points out of 19 on foot). Driven by their turn which has continued to sing and wave its blue flags, the Héraultais, 2nd in the regular phase, enforced the hierarchy and achieved the match they needed to continue their journey towards Saint-Denis.
In this tough duel, they were the ones who struck first, from the 6th minute, when Vincent Rattez came to flatten in the corner of the Bordeaux in-goal after a cleverly created surplus. A clever drop from Paolo Garbisi later (13th) and the MHR seemed to be in orbit. Despite a small relaxation which revived the Bordelais, Philippe Saint-André’s men returned to the locker room with a short lead thanks to a new drop, this time from Anthony Bouthier (13-10).
A slight advantage that they maintained after half-time, in a more choppy second period. They managed to collect the few waves of attacks on Bordeaux’s highlights, before Gela Aprasidze added three points in the bag ten minutes from time, the first points scored in the match since returning from the locker room. Before a final kick just before the siren to seal the outcome of the meeting.
Opposite, Bordeaux has not really made the weight, a week after its coup against Racing. If they spent a large part of the match with the ball in their hands, Christophe Urios’ men rarely knew what to do with it to build their offensives. Jalibert’s almost cap try (16th) was a good reminder that they could be dangerous at any time, but the Girondin markers did not have much opportunity to shine. Unable to score a single point after the break, the Bordelais failed at the gates of the final for the second consecutive year.
L’@UBBrugby back to score!! ⚡
– Canal Rugby Club (@CanalRugbyClub) June 18, 2022
Thanks to this narrow success, the Montpellier residents qualify for their third French championship final, the first since 2018. They will find Castres there, who had beaten them that year in the Dionysian enclosure. The Héraultais will undoubtedly have the firm will to take their revenge, and to win the first championship title in their history.