“Montpellier has struggled so much that we savor every moment,” says Paillaugue

The emblematic half-scrum, which will leave the MHR after the final against Castres, recalls the last setbacks that have allowed the club to recover and recover better.

How you live this victory against the UBB And this next final against Castres?
Benoit Paillaugue: It was complicated for many things. I got injured, I ran out of contract, I’m going to leave the club. We know how important I am to this Montpellier club. To find myself there … I have no words because I had a shitty season! Becoming a crusader at 34 was difficult. And play the final phase as a starter … In 2011, I was a substitute, we lost the final (against Toulouse) I got a yellow card. In 2018 I had crossed paths, I hadn’t played. There, I’m sure I’ll start a final.

You will play your last match with the MHR in the final …
I savor every moment, every minute I spend at the club, the trips back and forth to my house, which I have done for 13 years. My only fear today (Saturday) was that this might be my last game. And there I know my last will be the final. The last time I put on this t-shirt. This t-shirt may have crazy symbolism! Well attached to the house. We will prepare very well. We will be working again on Monday. We will play against Castres … Pfff … Four finals in nine years. There is nothing to say, they still had a crazy game against Toulouse. It’s a team that doesn’t give up, a bit like us today. With values, a lot of solidarity and we’ll see …

Before the match we heard the strong words of Guilhem Guirado. There we hear you, we have the impression that this year there is a soul of more …
This year, but also last year. We are having a difficult season, we never gave up winning this title in the Challenge Cup. That season served us well for this year. We never betrayed each other when it was hard, we didn’t shoot ourselves in the leg, we tried to find solutions. As in sports, everything can go very, very fast. The last day we played against Bayonne and there we are playing a final of the Top 14, it’s crazy! (Smiles) Completely crazy. You should have seen the locker room, they were kids. Even me at 34, even Guilhem at 36 … We also wanted to win for the boys who didn’t play. I think a lot of Fufu (Ouedraogo), with 18 years at the club, no one else deserved to play that game. Sometimes sport is unfair. But we will take him to the final and I hope he plays it.

We must remain humble, but we are lucky to be able to mark the history of the club. Be forever the first to regain the title of champion of France

Benoit Paillaugue

What can you tell us about Gela Aprasidze, who replaced you and gave you two incredible kicks …
Yesterday (Friday), during the captain’s training, we saw that the field was much smaller than at home. He only hit 50 or 40 m opponents, made 8 of 8. They told him: “Chicken, if you have one tomorrow to try, grab it, you have the green light!” And it’s a 2 out of 2. It makes us win, it’s good for the whole group, all the boys are involved. We don’t shoot ourselves in the leg, we all want the same goal. We have fought so hard that we want to savor every moment. We must remain humble, but we are lucky to be able to mark the history of the club. Be forever the first to regain the title of champion of France. Motivate.

With the local players, we emphasize very little …
Yes, it must be said, with players who have trained at the club. And there you go …

This final will be marked by the farewells of Ouedraogo but also those of Guirado …
They have done a lot for French rugby, for the club. It’s a good thing they end up with a final, but it would be even better if they end up with a title.

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