Faced with Oyonnax, Montpellier wants to confirm its revival to get its head out of the red zone

Faced with Oyonnax, Montpellier wants to confirm its revival to get its head out of the red zone

Montpellier et Harry Williams devront faire parler la puissance pour s'imposer à Oyonnax. Midi Libre – SYLVIE CAMBON

Three months after the arrival of its new staff, Montpellier travels to Oyonnax (Saturday March 2 at 5 p.m.), for a crucial meeting in the fight for maintenance.

Last Saturday November 25, Patrice Collazo and his staff will lead their first match at the helm of a dying MHR against Oyonnax. A first disillusionment and a defeat (21-26) conceded in a GGL Stadium cold as a winter evening. 

Three months and eight matches later, the situation has changed and Montpellier has the opportunity to push a direct opponent a little further for maintenance. Because the MHR climbed back up and collected 21 points when the Oyomen fell to last place in the Top 14, with only six points scored in the same period. The MHR is therefore preparing to begin a decisive fortnight for its future. "We gave ourselves the means to make it important, says manager Patrice Collazo. She can shift the club into another dynamic. We have things in hand. It’s up to us to see how we’re going to negotiate them. The team is progressing, we are more consistent."

The ranking of the Top 14

In Oyonnax, then against Bordeaux-Bègles the following week, the Montpellier residents have the opportunity to get their heads above water for good in the event of a positive series. "We approach these matches like a semi-final and a final, confirms scrum half Léo Coly. It could change the course of the club's season. But we know that rugby moves very quickly. One way or the other.

In three months, Montpellier turned its head around. Through hard work but also sacrifices. "It moved a lot. But that means that we had to make things happen, continues Patrice Collazo, referring to the departures of hooker Tolu Latu and Italian fly-half Paolo Garbisi. We have nothing against man but we are looking for a balance. Financial, Jiff… What we do there are things that we install for the future."

"A semi-final and a final"

The arrival of Christopher Tolofua as hooker is part of this plan. "It’s as if we had started the season after everyone else", breathes Léo Coly. "The group is evolving, the results bear this out. The players became aware of the situation. We are up against the wall. The staff made us understand that at the end of the season, if we are in the bottom two, it’s a crisis. We are all committed to looking upwards."

But the staff also implemented its own method, that of a rotation studied according to the obstacle to be overcome."The players have understood that there is no rotation for the sake of rotation. There is a strategy depending on the matches. We had decided on a certain team at Racing, it was to play against this team, on this surface, it was another against Bayonne. There will be another against Oyonnax, details Collazo. We try to prepare a complete strategy, define the roles of each person, what they must bring because we cannot afford to miss out on coaching.&quot ;

On the Charles-Mathon synthetic, in the bitter cold of the Aindinois winter, you will have to adapt once again. "It’is a fast surface and Oyo is a hyper clinical team, pursues the former Toulon player. We know that defense will be essential. On synthetic, as soon as you miss a tackle, it generates progress and excitement on and off the field. We'll make sure not to excite everyone."

In other words, try to string together a third victory in a row to push Oyonnax a little further and try to climb, finally, out of the red zone.

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