Reigning French champion, Montpellier Hérault Rugby is struggling this season, unable to find continuity in its game and its results.
And chaining disappointments, with already eleven losses on the clock for only eight successes.
The slow pace of a mid-table team, far from the ambitions of President Mohed Altrad.
Schedule and Top 14 results
Ranking Top 14
Approaching the final sprint, with only seven days left to go, the MHR is stuck in tenth place with 39 points, already ten points behind sixth, Bordeaux-Bègles.
And the current dynamic of the Héraultais hardly lends itself to optimism since they remain on four defeats in a row before receiving Clermont on Saturday (3 p.m.).
"It's time to stick together"
During the last day, Philippe Saint-André's players were dominated by a Stade Français Paris sure of its strength and its game plan (27-17).
Despite an ultra-realistic start to the meeting materialized by two tries from scrum half Kobus Reinach (9th) then from the back Anthony Bouthier (14th).
"In defense, it's like the last weekends, we're pretty well in place but all it takes is one mistake, a lack of positioning... It's the top level, every detail is important,
observed the latter.
We take tests on defensive errors, we still fail at ten points, we are not far but at this level, it does not forgive.
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With four receptions to come (Clermont, Castres, Brive, La Rochelle), the Hérault club can no longer afford to leave points on the way.
It will even be necessary to scratch outside (Perpignan, Bayonne, Pau).
The setback in Paris
"hurt my head",
recognizes Anthony Bouthier:
"When we see the classification and the calendar, each point will count now to hope to qualify..."
Already, after the setback conceded at home against RC Toulon (18-20) in early February, manager Philippe Saint-André had sounded the alarm.
Now is the time to stick together, to show solidarity.
It is necessary that certain leaders impose themselves,
he had hammered.
But we lacked far too many things in our rugby and in precision to hope to win this match.
Knowing full well that his team lacks confidence.
No success since early January
A victory against ASM is therefore essential.
"It's already a game of the final stages,"
warns second-line international Bastien Chalureau.
The Jaunards, ninth and one point ahead in the standings, are also engaged in a mad climb up the standings to join the top 6. in Toulon (36-21) revived the small flame.
We can still improve our offensive circulation, we have times when we put a lot of intensity but we have to find more fluidity to be more effective, but I think we are on the right path", advances the manager
of the club. Auvergne, who won four times during his seven trips to the
Like Castres, finalist last year but now in the fight to maintain, the MHR is experiencing a serious backlash after raising the first Brennus shield in its history.
This season, everyone wants to offer the reigning champion's scalp.
The ransom of success.
And things are complicated without a dozen injured executives (Coly, Doumayrou, Vincent, Camara, Tu'inukuafe, Verhaeghe, Bécognée) or retained in selection (Willemse, Garbisi and Haouas suspended).
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The Montpellier - still in contention in the Champions Cup where they will challenge the English of Exeter in the round of 16 - have not won in the league since the beginning of January and a short success against Racing 92 (17-12).
“We will have to win matches,
had warned “PSA” after the defeat in Lyon (31-21).
On the content, the intensity, it's not bad but on the accounting level, we are not there.
The Italian opening half Paolo Garbisi, back at the MHR this week, believes in it.
He hammered home this week at a press conference:
“For us, the goal is always the top
6. We want to aim high, we don't want to look down.
We are still convinced that we can be in the six at the end of the season.