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Montpellier this season

saulan

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So I see that Montpellier have had a great season in the Top 14 and are the favourites for the final. As a South African, I'm intrigued. How much of this is Vern Cotter's influence and how much of it is from the solid foundation laid down by Jake White. I see most of the South African players are still there, have they been key players throughout the season?

Then, for French supporters that don't support Montpellier, how is the team perceived? When last I was following, they were viewed as a new money South African team, or a bought team, and most supporters of other teams were not a fan of them. Has this perspective shifted at all?
 
Hello,

I'd say it's a bit of each: Cotter didn't come in and change everything. He used what White laid down, then progressively applicated subtile changes in match strategies and players selections. Of course their summer recruitment had a huge impact on their performances this year : Pienaar is superb, Picamoles had a strong season, and Cruden was a bit disapointing but is coming back at his top level right in time. Their rotation is good too : see how Dumoulin played well in the semi in replacement of Serfontein who was suspended. See a guy like Benjamin Fall, who took back that winger spot he lost under White era. Cotter also brought in talented young players like Haouas, Devergie, Immelman or Ngandebe.

I'm maybe not really objective when it comes to "perceive" Montpellier (I'm a Toulon supporter but have a thing on Montpellier for I've lived in this city for three years). For me, they are simply impressive, they dominate the game in so many ways... With not only strenght and talent, but alors experience (Du Plessis brothers, Picamoles, Ouedraogo, Pienaar, Cruden, Steyn...bloody hell...). I think we didn't have such a strong team in Top 14 since Toulon in the 2013/2014 season.

But the thing is they have loads of foreign players, and in France, paradoxally, there is a sort of a hostility to teams who bring in to many foreign players. Toulon was the first, then Racing, now Montpellier... There are also questions asked on their ability to respect the salary cap (11 M euros approximately) with all those world class players in their squad... and of course, to respect the french formation players quotas... which could ultimately cause them fines, maybe points loss...

Personnally, I don't care. I simply enjoy watching them playing.
 
Great final. Great Castres team. Nobody expected little Castres to beat the top 3 teams of Toulouse Racing and Montpellier in the playoffs.

I love it when the odds are turned upside down. The village team that topples the rich rugby wannabes of Montpellier. Hilarious.
Christophe Urios is showing he is a class act. He was brilliant at Oyonnax. He's come up with a near miracle with Castres.

The lesson for all is better to chase one ***le at a time. The big guns of Racing Clermont Toulon learnt the hard way. Had they focus on one competition they would have got something to show at the end. They were consumed by their ambition.

Great to see le Bouclier staying in Occitanie where it belongs. Since Castres are next door to us, next season we'll just pop over and take it back from them...
 
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I dont think Brennus belongs anywhere, it only belongs to the best team... and clearly but surprisingly, it's been Castres on this game. Chapeau bas, it was truely beautiful.

Still, considering CO finished at sixth spot... It's well-paid... As you said, they focus on Top 14 but that's what they've done for a long time now... I dont think we can blame big clubs for having ambition...

Maybe the old format of the phase with groups was more fair, with the real best teams qualifying for play-offs... just a thought...
 
Montpellier were incredibly arrogant yesterday. They have won nothing in our rugby yet they waltzed into the final expecting it like a done deal because they have money and walked all over Lyon in the semi. A little bit of humility would have gone a long way....that also applies to Racing.
 
They didn't seem arrogant to me. I mean it wasn't obvious, it's not something you can SEE (unless they came on the pitch smiling, laughing, bragging...)

Maybe they were too confident, yes, surely. (Inconsciously) They've underrated Castres, and they paid the price for it...
 
Great final. Great Castres team. Nobody expected little Castres to beat the top 3 teams of Toulouse Racing and Montpellier in the playoffs.

I love it when the odds are turned upside down. The village team that topples the rich rugby wannabes of Montpellier. Hilarious.
Christophe Urios is showing he is a class act. He was brilliant at Oyonnax. He's come up with a near miracle with Castres.

The lesson for all is better to chase one ***le at a time. The big guns of Racing Clermont Toulon learnt the hard way. Had they focus on one competition they would have got something to show at the end. They were consumed by their ambition.

Great to see le Bouclier staying in Occitanie where it belongs. Since Castres are next door to us, next season we'll just pop over and take it back from them...

Castres is not a small team with no money. They're backed by Laboratoire Fabre (like ASM and Michelin), their Stadium was recently expanded and renovated. Of course thay don't have as many means as Racing or Toulon but they keep focused on Top14.

Otherwise the Brennus belongs to SCUF, not really an Occitanie club, which lends it for a year to French Champion. ;-)
 
I dont think Brennus belongs anywhere, it only belongs to the best team ..
Oh yes it does.
It belongs to Occitanie with Toulouse as its capital because historically we're the region that produces the best rugby players and most successful clubs - and this season is no different as we're the winners of 4 leagues incl. the 2 pro leagues:

Castres in Top 14
Perpignan in ProD2
Lavaur Fédérale 1
Gruissan Fédérale 3

'Occitanie at the top'
https://www.rugbyrama.fr/rugby/l-occitanie-au-sommet_sto6825039/story.shtml
 
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