MHR – LOU: despite the internal turmoil, there are still matches to play before the access match

MHR – LOU: despite the internal turmoil, there are still matches to play before the access match

Gabriel Ngandebe et les Montpelliérains ont encore deux matches à jouer avant le barrage. Midi Libre – SYLVIE CAMBON

Le MHR accueille le LOU ce samedi 1er juin, à 17h, au GGL Stadium, pour le dernier match de l’année à domicile.

Oh yes, by the way, there is a match this Saturday. With all this internal commotion, we almost forget that the MHR has two matches (Lyon, in Clermont) to play before playing for its survival in the Top 14 next Sunday, June 16.

The interest of these two meetings? Accounting, there is none. Or almost. Unless there is a disaster scenario – Oyonnax strings together two consecutive victories at five points and Montpellier loses its two matches without bonus –, the Héraultais are certain to finish 13th, synonymous with an access match against the losing finalist of Pro D2 (Grenoble or XXXX).

Motivation department, the Cistes must therefore draw elsewhere. In the stakes, already. It's more important than it seems. For these boys, their morale is high, it is time to break a sad dynamic of seven consecutive defeats, including six in the Top 14. A spiral which cost the heads of Richard Cockerill and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde last November. So a victory would bring a little joy to the gloom of daily life in Montpellier. It would be like a first dressing on an open fracture.

There is the question of honor, too. What last outing at the GGL Stadium do the Montpellier residents want to give to veterans like Geoffrey Doumayrou, Grégory Fichten and all those who are leaving the ship at the end of the year ? If the break with the staff and Bernard Laporte is well proven, isn't it time for the players to show what they have in their belly, to prove wrong a director of rugby with a sometimes "borderline" speech ?

"Two seasons in one"

The Montpellier residents do not seem to cheat on the field, we can at least recognize that. Apart from Toulon (54-7), they never gave up a match, were often in the game until the end. But a missed pass, plus a blocked kick, plus a badly caught touch… And it's the snowball effect. This sum of details caused the fall of this team, to the point of putting the morale of the troops at its lowest. "Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn't benefit from taking 40 to take radical measures. There, it’s at 10%. It would be lying to the guys to say that everything is to be thrown away", assures manager Patrice Collazo.

To get out of this slump, the players talked to each other. Several times. Without declaring total independence from the staff, who keeps control over training. The match weeks have not changed, or very little. To face Lyon, no upsets need to be highlighted. "It’was a little complicated on the first day of this week, but now, I’ have the impression that we are finding a little ;rsquo;energy and motivation, says captain Marco Tauleigne, evoking the mental aspect. As some say, we have the impression of having experienced two seasons in one."

And what about the deadline in two weeks. On the scale of the MHR, it seems light years away.

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