Montpellier was crowned champion of France after its success against Castres

The match: 29-10

If the logic was respected facing, on Friday evening in Saint-Denis, the two best teams in the Championship at the end of the regular season, the leader, Castres, was completely dominated in the first period by the euphoric and sharp Montpellier who scored three. he tries it in six minutes (6th-12th) and has knocked out his opponent. With this clear success, Montpellier prevailed with a hard fight and in a spectacular way from the beginning of the first Brennus Shield of its young history.

After a discussion (2nd), only to warm up after the long presentation of the players to the President of the Republic who had cooled everyone, the Castres suddenly disappeared from this final. February, clumsy, undisciplined, opened intervals in which the Héraultais sank happily.

Winger Arthur Vincent made a pass at the foot of the immense Zach Mercer (6th) to open the scoring, then slender second-row Florian Verhaegue was placed behind a ruck like a tight wing of the American football (10th) and winger Anthony Bouthier added. a third try at the end of the line, magnificently served with a blind cross from Vincent after a millimeter attack on a recovery ball (12th).

Leading 17-0 and then 20-0 with a penalty goal from Benoît Paillaugue (21st), the slow, amorphous Tarnais, in a calamitous word, turned at halftime largely overwhelmed (23-3). Coach Philippe Saint-André’s MHR had lost its veteran hitter Guilhem Guirado (27), a KO victim while the CO had been evolving since day 14 without its manager Benjamin Urdapilla (36) injured in the calf. But if the MHR did not lose the thread of their game, the Castres, they, had long since disintegrated.

In the second half, the Tarnais showed their face much better but the three tries that could have scored (Dumora at 51, De Benedittis at 58, Chilachava at 59) were rightly rejected. The impotence of the Tarn was summed up in this sequence. Nothing was scored, either way, until the goal of Paolo Garbisi (68th, 26-3), as if this final had blocked most of the score at halftime, or even since from the start.Minute 12.

In numerical superiority to the 63 (yellow card against Van Rensburg), the Castres Olympique did not find the fault in the excellent defense of an MHR that thus assured without reproaching this historical success, constructed first, and is a luck, by three splendid offensives. If we are willing to consider as anecdotal the attempt of the Castres in the 75th minute of Vilimoni Botitu in a long distance counter.


After two lost finals (2011, 2018), this is the first French title obtained by Montpellier since the creation of the club in 1986.

Player: Thank you Mr. Mercer!

It was everywhere, efficient and sharp. Zach Mercer, this third-tier English international center-back (2 caps in 2018) who arrived at the MHR at the start of the season from Bath, was all good shots during the first twelve minutes, which were decisive. Passed low on the foot (6th), crucial clearings (10th), recovery (12th) and fire support to enter directly into the defense of the Tarn (35th): so many implications that put his teammates in favorable situations. After this performance, Zach Mercer (24 years, 1.91 m, 111 kg) returned to the sights of the coaches of the XV de la Rose.

The fact: the Hérault defense was watching

Fourth defender of the Top 14, Montpellier has highlighted the quality of the tickets. This is demonstrated by the three Tarn highlights blocked in front of the line between 51 and 59, not counting then two interceptions in enemy advances at the end of the wing. The Castres could expect to return to the scoreboard at the start of the second period, but this is precisely where the men of coach Saint-André knew how to maintain the lead and break the Castro impulse to secure this title. Although they broke a bit at the end of the match (75th), without real impact, however, in the fate of this final.

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