Challenge Cup, MHR-Ulster: for Montpellier, the apnea begins now!

Challenge Cup, MHR-Ulster: for Montpellier, the apnea begins now!

Sam Simmonds, Paul Willemse et les Montpelliérains veulent se servir du Challenge comme tremplin pour le Top 14. Midi Libre – SYLVIE CAMBON

Montpellier hosts Ulster this Sunday April 7 (1:30 p.m.) in the round of 16 of the Challenge Cup. A match marking the starting point of the decisive meetings for the MHR.

This is the start of a long series of knife matches, the starting point for at least seven oxygen matches. And more in the event of a victory this Sunday or in the event of a play-off in the Top 14. "We will be in apnea until the end, so we have to be sure; train to hold your breath". Words signed Patrice Collazo, the Montpellier manager.

The first meeting, this Sunday, is the most pleasant. This round of 16 against Ulster is stress-free. It is only a plus for the MHR, obsessed with its quest to remain in the championship. And a warm-up for the rest. "We will be faced with elimination matches. The sooner we prepare for them, the better we will understand them", assures the number one of the staff.

Challenge Cup, MHR-Ulster: for Montpellier, the apnea begins now!

So, there's no question of wasting Sunday's game. And for several reasons. Even if the aligned team offers a significant turnover, a sign that competition is also a means of recreating emulation. "The issue is positive. It did us good three years ago when we went to the end, in a roughly similar situation. The only pressure you can have is wanting to win a title. While the other matches, we must win to ensure maintenance. It’s not the same", remarks the second line Florian Verhaeghe.

Get inspired by 2021

The European break will also make it possible to eclipse the anxiety of the championship for eighty minutes, while preparing for its final sprint. "A playoff match brings a lot in terms of experience, collective experience, lots of things", adds Collazo, implying that confrontation with the Irish can only be beneficial.

The history of Montpellier goes in this direction. The Challenge allowed the MHR to win a title in 2021 when it was not yet assured of its maintenance. This trophy was also the starting point for the Shield season the following year. This year, she brought the club out of the doldrums. The game, the refereeing, the opponents, the state of mind…hellip; Everything is different in competition. See something else to recharge your batteries, the formula works.

Be careful, however, not to be too lax either. A heavy setback would resonate like a hammer blow in heads already suffering from migraines.

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