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
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 21 April 2018
Crusaders v Sunwolves 07h35 Christchurch
Reds v Chiefs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Rebels 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Leinster v Scarlets 14h30 Dublin
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Durban
Zebre v Ospreys 16h45 Parma
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 17h05 Kingspan Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 6 4 0 2 20
Wasps 6 3 0 3 17
Ulster 6 4 0 2 17
Harlequins 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 22
Saracens 6 3 1 2 18
Ospreys 6 2 1 3 15
Northampton Saints 6 1 0 5 6
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 6 0 0 27
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 15
Montpellier 6 2 0 4 13
Glasgow Warriors 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 4 1 1 21
Racing Metro 6 4 0 2 19
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Leicester Tigers 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 6 4 0 2 21
Toulon 6 4 0 2 19
Bath 6 4 0 2 18
Treviso 6 0 0 5 4