After ten days of vacation, the Héraultais want to confirm, Saturday against Castres, their series of three consecutive victories and their third place in the standings.
Back to serious matters. End of the international break and resumption of the Top 14 for the Montpellier of Philippe Saint-André who wants to resume his good habits. Before ten days of vacation following the first block of ten matches in the league, the MHR had signed three promising successes against Racing 92 (21-32), Lyon (30-8) and Stade Français Paris (27-31) , rising to third place in the standings. This good series had allowed the Hérault residents to be able to breathe quietly.
“These last three victories, we needed them. We had points late and we were able to recover them by whipping ”, welcomes Fulgence Ouedraogo who will become on Saturday the most capped player in the history of the MHR (332 matches), erasing Didier Bès from the shelves. But the flanker warns: “Above all, we do not have the right to relax. We are 3rd but the 8th is just behind. It’s going fast, very fast in this championship. We had regrets at the start of the season on certain matches, we should no longer have any now and try to aim for a qualifying place. “
The trick now is to restart the machine. Not easy against a team of Castres always catchy and who is the bête noire of the MHR. “The Castres weren’t successful for us last season, we lost at home and took a beating there”, Saint-André recalled Thursday at a press conference. The club with the flower of cistus especially recovers many of its internationals who took part in the test-matches of the autumn. Thus, the French Paul Willemse and Mohamed Haouas, the Springboks Cobus Reinach and Handré Pollard as well as the Italian Paolo Garbisi and the Fijian Masivesi Dakuwaqa took part in Thursday’s training, reports the daily Free noon .
We know where we want to go
The only missing Georgians were Gela Aprasidze (hit in the shoulder) and Micha Nariashvili. Others are returning from injury such as South African Jan Serfontein and third row Kélian Galletier. At the start of the week, the Hérault club recorded the arrival of Australian hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa (25 years old, 14 caps), to compensate for the absence of Guilhem Guirado (hit in the biceps at the start of the season) and compete with Jérémie Maurouard and Vincent Giudicelli. “But there is little chance that he will play this weekend”, advances the manager of Hérault.
Almost halfway through the regular phase of the Top 14, Montpellier seems to have finished with its torments of last season. It all started with this failed start which had been fatal to Xavier Garbajosa. “We know where we want to go”, recently suggested the Montpellier manager who greeted “state of mind” of his group. Despite the absences of several executives: Guilhem Guirado therefore, but also Benoît Paillaugue, Geoffrey Doumayrou and Arthur Vincent, injured. After a sluggish start to the season, the MHR concluded its first semester in the best possible way, climbing the Top 14 podium. It remains to be confirmed over time.
With winter, we will have to be strong in front, pragmatic and behind we will do what is necessary
“It’s the beauty of this Top 14 where all the matches are difficult, often it is played in the last quarter of an hour, underlines Saint-André. We do not want to lose the advantage of having won at the two Parisian clubs. If we want to stay at the top of the table, we have to win on Saturday. Castres has also stored up energy and it will be a very engaged match. ”
At the start of the season, the center of the Blues Arthur Vincent, recently operated on for a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament, explained that the MHR must learn the lessons of the last exercise. “We must not forget what happened last season, do not throw everything away. On the contrary, you have to use everything, good times and bad times, he emphasized. We must remember our first catastrophic months to galvanize ourselves. And remember the end of the season so that it continues to carry us. “
Philippe Saint-André emphasizes the fact “That there is a real osmosis between everyone and that we give everything we have knowing that it will start to get colder, more humid, it will be slower. We have to prepare for a good winter ”. Jan Serfontein knows what awaits the MHR: “With winter, we will have to be strong in front, pragmatic and behind we will do what is necessary …”