Montpellier achieve the ‘impossible’

Sun, 20 Jan 2013 11:01
Large fabiengalthie

Montpellier head coach Fabien Galthie has hailed his players for reaching the last eight in the European Cup for the first time.

Montpellier head coach Fabien Galthie has hailed his players for reaching the last eight in the European Cup for the first time.

A brilliant 23-3 home win over Toulon made it a third visit to a major tournament's knockout phase in as many years for a team assembled by Galthie and his former forwards coach Eric Bechu.

The Round Six victory turned into a tribute to Bechu, who died earlier in the week after a brave fight against cancer.

"I don't want to add another layer, but this is our - I say 'our' because I feel like Eric is still here with us - third year in Montpellier, and it's the third time we have qualified for a final phase - twice in Top 14 and now in the European Cup," said Galthie.

"We have put Montpellier among the eight best teams in Europe, which might not include Leinster or Munster. That is quite a feeling!

"I have to give credit to my fellow coaches Mario Ledesma and Stephane Glas. It has not an easy situation for them either. I called them to the rescue when things got serious for Eric.

"I told them right away that it wouldn't be easy, but they came to help anyway and did their best for everyone. The players also answered on the field, but what they did belongs to them.

"Everyone needs to realise that a lot of our players were pretty much amateurs when they arrived (Creevy, Fernandez, Bustos) and a lot of others came out of our academy (De Marco, Ouedraogo, Trinh-Duc, Berard). Others then came from smaller teams and some didn't have a club anymore (Tulou, Bias, Combezou, Nagusa).

"All of them are now part of the eight best teams in Europe. I couldn't say at the beginning of the season, 'our goal is to reach the quarterfinals', but the players did what was necessary, and here it is."

Montpellier now face the daunting prospect of travelling to Stade Marcel Michelin in April to face a Clermont team that won all six pool matches, including back-to-back wins over the reigning champions Leinster, and have stretched their unbeaten run at home this season to 53 games.

Toulon have also qualified for the last eight and Toulouse could make it four French teams if they win at Leicester on Sunday. Montpellier qualified as the best of the two pool runners-up with their 22 points and 17 tries and are therefore seeded No.7 in the draw.

Galthie was also full of praise for the way in which his side went about beating the top team in France this season, inflicting on them their first defeat in Europe and only their fourth all season.

"We put them on the backfoot, offensively and defensively. The game was indecisive for a while, but I always felt like we could achieve something we thought impossible," admitted Galthie.

"We played a good, consistent game. We scored two tries against none, and even missed a couple more in the end-zone. At some point we thought we had a shot for the leadership, which was actually quite surprising to see.

"In those conditions our defence did a great job. We put a lot of pressure on Toulon and played very well every time we had the opportunity to move the ball. We scored the first try early in the game and missed another one soon after that."

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 22 October 2016
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 12h00 Thomond Park
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 14h00 Bloemfontein
Clermont Auvergne v Bordeaux 14h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Castres v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Pierre Antoine
Saracens v Scarlets 16h30 Allianz Park
Ulster v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 23 October 2016
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Toulouse v Wasps 15h15 Le Mans
Zebre v Connacht 15h15 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16h30 Welford Road
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 22 October 2016
New Zealand v Australia 37 | 10
Fri, 21 October 2016
Sale Sharks v Toulon 5 | 15
Sun, 16 October 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Clermont Auvergne 8 | 35
Bordeaux v Ulster 28 | 13
Sat, 15 October 2016
Scarlets v Sale Sharks 28 | 11
Connacht v Toulouse 23 | 21
Northampton Saints v Montpellier 16 | 14
Blue Bulls v Western Province 36 | 30
Toulon v Saracens 23 | 31
Leinster v Castres 33 | 15
Free State Cheetahs v Golden Lions 55 | 17
Wasps v Zebre 82 | 14
Fri, 14 October 2016
Glasgow Warriors v Leicester Tigers 42 | 13
Sun, 09 October 2016
Saracens v Wasps 30 | 14
Sat, 08 October 2016
Scarlets v Dragons 31 | 27
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 1 1 0 0 5
Munster 0 0 0 0 0
Racing Metro 0 0 0 0 0
Leicester Tigers 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 1 1 0 0 5
Connacht 1 1 0 0 4
Toulouse 1 0 0 1 1
Zebre 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 1 1 0 0 4
Saracens 1 1 0 0 4
Toulon 2 1 0 1 4
Sale Sharks 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 1 1 0 0 5
Northampton Saints 1 1 0 0 4
Montpellier 1 0 1 1
Castres 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 1 1 0 0 5
Bordeaux 1 1 0 0 4
Ulster 1 0 0 1 0
Exeter Chiefs 1 0 0 1 0