Top 14: Montpellier joins Castres in the final

Tense from start to finish, the duel between Montpellier and Bordeaux-Bègles turned in favor of the Héraultais (19-10), who qualified for their third Top 14 final against Castres.

The 2021-2022 Top 14 final will be a remake of the 2017-2018 season final. The day after Castres’ victory over Toulouse, it was Montpellier who validated their ticket to the Stade de France after a very tight semi-final against Bordeaux-Bègles. A meeting that quickly became animated. While Maxime Lucu, following a fault in a Hérault maul, opened the scoring on penalty after five minutes, the answer came in the next minute through Vincent Rattez.

After a high ball recovery, the Cistes sent the ball to the left wing and Paolo Garbisi was able to launch his winger, who flattened the first try of the encounter into a corner. In a semi-final, all points count and the Italian fly-half understood that. Shortly before the quarter of an hour, while his attack struggled to find the fault in the Girondin defensive curtain, Paolo Garbisi took responsibility and passed a drop fifteen meters from the posts.

Bordeaux-Bègles hung on

However, the two teams went blow for blow at the start of the match and UBB’s answer came from Matthieu Jalibert. Taking advantage of a clumsiness from Guilhem Guirado on an attempted pass after contact, the Bordeaux number 10 did not hesitate to extend the ball at the foot before recovering it and taking advantage of the momentum to flatten the try of the equalizer even before the end of the first 20 minutes. Shortly after, the MHR experienced a real fright with Paolo Garbisi who complained of a knee but the Italian international was able to stay on the lawn of the Allianz Riviera.

On the initiative in the game, however, the Cistes were not rewarded on the scoreboard, Benoît Paillaugue missing the opportunity to add three penalty points four minutes from the break. However, just after the siren, it was an opportunistic Anthony Bouthier who decided to slam a drop 42 meters from the Gironde poles. The back found the target and allowed his training to return to their locker room with a three-point lead. Back to the wall, the players of Christophe Urios pushed to reverse the trend but without managing to find spaces.

Aprasidze sends Montpellier to the final

The score does not move, the tension is gradually rising on the lawn. The two technical staffs then decided to send fresh blood but nothing worked. At the hour mark, the UBB even tried to imitate their evening opponent but an attempted drop signed François Trinh-Duc did not find the target. The final 20 minutes saw both teams undisciplined but it turned in MHR’s favour. Ten minutes from the siren, Gela Aprasidze improved a fault on the ground by Mahamadou Diaby and forced the UBB to go for the try to make the difference.

Paolo Garbisi, for his part, tried to shelter Montpellier but his drop did not find the target. The all for all of Christophe Urios’ players did not work and, in the last minute, Gela Aprasidze sealed the fate of the match with a final penalty. With this sluggish victory (19-10), Montpellier qualifies for its third Top 14 final after those lost in 2011 against Toulouse and in 2018 against Castres, who will be his opponent next Friday at the Stade de France.

Top 14 TOP 14 / SEMI-FINALS
Friday, June 17, 2022
Castres (1) – Toulouse (4): 24-18

Saturday, June 18, 2022
Montpelier (2) – Bordeaux-Bègles (3): 19-10

FINAL
Friday June 24, 2022 (at the Stade de France)
8:45 p.m.: Castres (1) – Montpellier (2)

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