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PREVIEW: Fickou wary of White factor

Friday 23rd January 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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À Montpellier dimanche

À Montpellier dimanche

Toulouse centre Gael Fickou is wary of the Jake White factor ahead of their Pool Four deciding European Rugby Champions Cup clash with Montpellier.

The four-time continental kings must win to secure their place in the quarter-finals. They will hold on to top spot with a victory but will be overtaken at the final hurdle by the winner of the clash between Bath and Glasgow Warriors if they slip up at their domestic rivals.

It was all going smoothly for Guy Noves’ side until Bath came to town and claimed a famous 35-18 triumph at the Stade Ernest Wallon. Montpellier are yet to register a win in the Champions Cup this season but still have a big role to play in deciding who advances to the last eight.

Jake White’s appointment to Director of Rugby at the French club had an immediate effect as they claimed a victory over European champions RC Toulon in the Top 14. And France back Fickou does not want to be the next giant toppled by the World Cup winning coach.

He said: “I do not think it will be more comfortable than another team because Montpellier remains a daunting task. What is good is that we do not have a long journey! Seriously, Montpellier is a group that has a lot of talent. They have a new coach will inevitably change their game. We might have a few surprises.

“We want to react, to focus on this last group match of the European Cup. We still have our destiny. That will not be easy at all to go win something in Montpellier. Despite this, you have to have ambition.

“Their pack is very effective and it is something on which they rely a lot. They also have very good backs. It is not good to play against them. In this competition, we always meet opponents of very good level. We're used to and we expect a very committed game.”

Match Facts:

  • Toulouse have not lost a pool game away from home since January 2013, winning their last five.
  • In contrast, Montpellier have lost four of their last five home games in the competition.
  • Maxime Medard has beaten 18 defenders, along with Bath’s Horacio Agulla no player has beaten as many defenders.
  • Toulouse are the most disciplined side in the Champions Cup this season, conceding a tournament low 8.4 penalties/free-kicks per game so far.

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REPORT: Montpellier defy odds to knock Toulouse out

Sunday 25th January 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Enorme sensation à Montpellier où Toulouse est (presque) éliminé de la Champions Cup après sa défaite à l'Altrad Stadium (26-27). Ses quatre victoires en début de campagne n'auront donc servi à rien. - 25/01/2015 15:07

Enorme sensation à Montpellier où Toulouse est (presque) éliminé de la Champions Cup après sa défaite à l'Altrad Stadium (26-27). Ses quatre victoires en début de campagne n'auront donc servi à rien. - 25/01/2015 15:07

Montpellier defied the odds to secure a 27-26 triumph and send Toulouse out of the European Rugby Champions Cup at the Altrad Stadium.

The four-time European kings looked set to cruise into the quarter-finals after winning all four consecutive matches in the tournament’s early rounds.  But Montpellier made it five wins from five against French opposition in Europe at their new stadium to send Toulouse out of the competition.

Clement Poitrenaud and Toby Flood scored charge down tries but Lucas Dupont’s quick-fire double downed the side leading Pool Four at the start of the day.

Toulouse’ bid for Pool four supremacy suffered an early setback when they were guilty of pulling down a rolling Montpellier maul, Ben Lucas landed the penalty to put the hosts in-front. McAlister had two shots at goal to level, put could not tame the wind at the Altrad Stadium.

The visitors had the chance to impose themselves when Rene Ranger saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on hooker Corey Flynn. But it was Jake White’s side who increased their advantage from the boot of Benoit Paillaugue, the scrum-half swept the ball off the tee and through the posts from inside his own half.

But Toulouse finally pounced through Poitrenaud. The France stalwart charged down Pierre Berard on his own line and collected to give his side a fortuitous lead.  McAlister found his kicking boots after the score to convert, before he and Lucas swapped penalties. But the Kiwi kicker got one better of his Australian counterpart to land another penalty before the break for  13-9 half-time lead.

Berard’s kicking nightmare continued moments after the break. Replacement outside-half Toby Flood was the man to block his punt this time, with the same result to give Toulouse a 20-9 lead.
But Montpellier showed the guile and guts they had been missing in the previous rounds with two Dupont tries in quick succession.

His first came after Ranger burst through the defensive line to combine with Akapusi Qera who set the wing free of a run to the line with a well timed offload.

He was in the right place at the right time two minutes later after Paillaugue darted down the blindside and found Dupont heading for the line.

Every time Flood put his side back in-front, Montpellier replied to keep a hold of their one-point advantage.


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