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Tops / Flops Montpellier-Harlequins: Zach Mercer unleashed, air holes on each side


After the big victory of the MHR over the Quins (40-26) in the knockout stages of the Champions Cup, find out what caught the attention of the editorial staff.


First for the MHR

Against Harlequins, Montpellier was only playing its second match in the Champions Cup finals.

We had to go back to 2013 to find traces of a quarter-final lost to Clermont (36-14).

With this success, the MHR won the first playoff match in its history in the great European Cup.

After a hooked start to the match and an ultra-realistic try from Ngandebe (21st), the Héraultais blew up the English defense by scoring three tries in seven minutes (31, 34th, 38th).

A fatal boost.

Especially since Lamositele drove the nail home after returning from the locker room (42nd).

The MHR honored its status as the leader of the Top 14 and the last winner of the Challenge Cup.

Mercer, to the good memories of the English

By choosing to join the MHR, Zach Mercer (24), one of the great hopes of English rugby, made a strong choice, depriving himself of the opportunity to be selected for the XV de la Rose.

But he was not in Eddie Jones' small papers and he chose exile in the Top 14. His adaptation to Montpellier happened very quickly and naturally.

Against the Quins, number 8 - both powerful and very mobile (1.90 m for 105 kg) - was omnipresent and decisive by scoring two sumptuous tries in the first half (31st, 38th).

Even if he defended himself at halftime at the microphone of

beIN Sport

, the former Bath player wanted to mark the occasion against his compatriots.

A performance that will cause a stir across the Channel.


The guilty release of the MHR

When the score was 34-0 in the 48th minute, we thought the case was already over.

In the aftermath, Philippe Saint-André's players, unconsciously or not, relaxed and they let the Harlequins score three tries in a quarter of an hour, by Hammond (50th), Esterhuizen (61st) and Marchant (65th) .

Before cashing a fourth by Lynagh (78th).

Enough is enough... With only 14 points behind before the second leg, the Quins are still alive.

And the MHR can blame itself for having given ground and not having driven the point home...

The air gap fatal to Quins

With this defeat on the lawn of Montpellier, the Harlequins are off to a bad start to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

But they never gave up.

The club currently third in the Premiership had not lost this season on the European scene.

But the Londoners took on too much water in the first period to be able to compete in the Hérault.

Despite a crazy comeback, they finish at 14 points.

A lesser evil.

The two clubs had previously faced each other 5 times in the Challenge Cup, with 3 English victories, but the MHR had won the last two confrontations, including the 2016 Challenge Cup final in Lyon.

Never two without three.

Marcus Smith muzzled

After a successful Six Nations Tournament where he held the house in the absence of Owen Farrell, the young Marcus Smith (23) had a complicated afternoon at GGL Stadium.

If he did try to boost the game of Quins, the English opening half was regularly taken by the Hérault defense.

He has long been unable to find the fault against the unleashed Héraultais, before a more removed end to the match.

However, it was difficult for him to exist with regularly dominated forwards.

His scrum half Danny Care did try (and succeed) a few shots, but overall the hinge of the Quins was muzzled.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2022-04-10

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