VIDEO. Montpellier and its Jiff players, a difficult balance to find at a tense end to the season

VIDEO. Montpellier and its Jiff players, a difficult balance to find at a tense end to the season

Aubin Eymeri, Alexandre Bécognée and Christopher Tolofua, three players from training courses. Midi Libre – JEAN MICHEL MART

Struggling in the rankings, the MHR is also struggling with the regulations for players from training courses (Jiff). A situation which could influence the end of the championship, like the Montpellier team's next match in Pau, this Saturday April 20 (5 p.m.).

Montpellier and the race for Jiff is one of the soap operas of this end of season. The Hérault club is, for the moment, not in compliance with the regulations concerning players from training channels (Jiff). To put it simply, at the end of the season, he will have to average 16 Jiff to avoid being sanctioned. By failing to comply with the rule, the club risks an administrative sanction ranging from 6 to 12 withdrawal points.

According to the site, the Héraultais currently have an average of 15.5 Jiff per match. It is, with ASM Clermont, one of the only teams in the red in Top 14. Concretely, if the championship stopped today, the MHR would resume the season next with a disbursement of 6 points.

"A parameter to take into account"

Six days before arrival, in addition to the injured and suspended, this is one more unknown in the weekly equation of the staff at the time of make your composition. "It’is a false problem. This is a parameter to take into account, but if we take it as a constraint and a problem, we can tie ourselves in knots and shoot ourselves in the foot", assures Patrice Collazo the Hérault manager. "I don't see it as something suffered. I believe in the daily performance of each player", he adds.

With nine Jiff behind the total expected at this time of the season (311 for 320 expected), the temptation could therefore be great to “Jiffer” a match by aligning 23 players trained in France on the sheet.

A perspective that Patrice Collazo sweeps away with the wave of his hand. "Jiffer, what does that mean ? Drop a match ? I don't understand… A Jiff player is less good than a non-Jiff ? », scolds the Hérault technician. "I believe in competition, in players who want to earn their place, in a certain balance. It’s a game of musical chairs, he continues. But in a squad of 40 players, you never have 40 at their best at the same time. Since I have been coaching, this has never happened."

Two weeks to manage

Deprived of the Challenge quarter-finals after its elimination against Ulster, the MHR benefited from two weeks without a match to prepare for its trip to Pau. & quot;It’s always complicated in a physically and mentally demanding championship. I wanted to see how we could go through a week without a match. It’s interesting, we took the opportunity to put in a lot of physics and rework things that we had lost sight of a little during the last three matches", explains Patrice Collazo. The Montpellier residents thus trained with the hopefuls twice during this period. "To find a contact format, things that we needed to work on under pressure" , continues the manager. The staff also took the opportunity to physically rebalance their squad. "There were players out of sync, so we individualized. We also worked a lot on the rucks, our playing systems", specifies the former Briviste. Touch, scrum, so many areas that have faltered over the last three weeks have also been the center of attention in recent days."The Top 14 is very long and when there is no match, it’s complicated for the players to focus. But they were in it. On Monday, we found everyone ready for the final stretch", assures Patrice Collazo.

« We need players to save the club »

And to all those who believe that lining up as many Jiff players as possible on the sheet means letting go of a match, the staff will respond by mentioning the match on the Racing 92 field. Against the Ile-de-France residents, the MHR fielded 18 Jiffs, the highest total since the start of the season. Result, a first away victory (20-44), offensive bonus at stake.

"Jiff or not Jiff, above all, we need players from Montpellier to save the club and we will do the accounts when they have to be done at the end&amp ;quot;, concludes Patrice Collazo to close the debate.

Jiff or not, we will have to field 23 players on Saturday in Pau. And regardless of the average, these are points that MHR now needs to ensure its future in Top 14.

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