Montpellier 38-5 Ospreys: French Side Overpower Ospreys as Clément Doumenc Stars in 6 try Challenge Cup Win - Ruck

Montpellier 38-5 Ospreys: French Side Overpower Ospreys as Clément Doumenc Stars in 6 try Challenge Cup Win

By Etienne Turpin

Montpellier have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, as they powered to a 38-5 win over the Ospreys in sunny conditions down in the South of France. Tries from George Bridge, Léo Coly, Vano Karkadze, and Auguste Cadot helped the French side to a 6 try victory where they sit on top of group B after 2 rounds.

The Ospreys were dealt an early blow as they forced into 2 changes before kick off with Keeland Giles and captain Morgan Morris forced to withdraw. They were replaced by Morgan Morse and Harri Houston.

Both sides came into the game on the back of bonus point victories in round 1 of the Challenge Cup (with Montpellier winning away to Newcastle 19-24 and the Ospreys took down Benetton 43-34 in a 10 try thriller)and the hosts ended a run of 8 successive defeats.

Ospreys enjoyed back-to-back victories over Montpellier last season in the Champions Cup and it was the Swansea side who controlled the opening eight minutes. However, Ospreys failed to capitalise on Owen Williams’ 50-22, as Anthony Bouthier won a turnover 5m out from the Montpellier try line.

The resulting penalty led to the hosts scoring the first try of the game as former All Black George Bridge won the dual from Leo Coly’s box kick, before offloading back to his scrum-half who was stopped metres from the try line. Morgan Morse was sent to the sin bin for slowing down the ball and the French side punished them by scoring moments later as Paolo Garbisi floated a pass over the defence to give Bridge an easy finish.

Just 10 minutes later, Bridge concluded a wonderful move from Montpellier to score his second of the game following a scrum. Referee Anthony Woodthorpe awarded a free kick to the hosts who played quickly with Coly. The ball was shifted quickly through the backs and a lovely offload from Ben Lam set Bouthier through before Garbisi set up Bridge with a lovely cross kick.

Montpellier began to grow in confidence and almost broke through again minutes later with offloads flying before Morse came to the rescue for the Ospreys and stole the ball back. The visitors kept on fighting and won a scrum penalty, much to the disappointment of the home fans but Clément Doumenc was fastest to react and won a penalty back for his side.

The home side were pushing for their third try of the game but Ospreys winger Mat Protheroe saved his side by intercepting Garbisi’s pass just as Montpellier had an overlap. However, the Ospreys were dealt another injury blow as Nicky Smith had to go off after 30 minutes after sustaining a shoulder injury.

And it got worse for the Ospreys as Coly scored the third try of the game after a sweet offload from Jan Serfontein and George North (Who is heading to Provence Rugby next season) was sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on. Garbisi then had a simple conversion to add the extras.

Montpellier transformed into the Harlem Globe Trotters as a series of offloads saw them quickly move up the pitch but were penalised because of an obstruction, but Owen Williams failed to find touch as and Montpellier attacked once more.

The brass bands began playing as the game neared half time with the home side in control leading 19-0 but the Ospreys won another scrum penalty but again, failed to find a way through as Protheroe couldn’t hold onto a bulleted pass. With full confidence, Garbisi attempted a cross kick which was almost inch perfect to Bridge but the ball slipped out of his hands.

The Ospreys were gifted on more opportunity as Montpellier were caught offside and this time, and Williams executed a perfect kick to the corner. The visitors set up a driving maul but Dewi Lake (who scored 4 tries last week vs Benetton) was stopped just short. The Ospreys kept on trying but Tom Botha was held up and Montpellier turned the ball over.

Toby Booth’s side found themselves 19 points behind at the break as the French side powered over the try line three times and ill discipline cost them dearly as Morse and North both saw yellow cards. George Bridge finished off two nice moves to get his first tries of the season and former France U20 World Championship winner Léo Coly also dotted down for Philippe Saint-Andre’s side.

Montpellier then brought on France international Paul Willemse and South African world cup winner Cobus Reinach, along with an entirely new front row. However the following replacements gave away two unforced penalties, which gave the Ospreys a lineout 5m out from the Montpellier try line. Eventually, Ospreys managed to cross over for the try, as Reuben Morgan-Williams found space between the Montpellier defence and just had to dot the ball down. Owen Williams was unable to find the extras but it was a confidence boosting try for the Welsh side.

Samoan international Ben Lam was getting more and more involved as he linked up with Bouthier as Montpellier went looking for the bonus point try which they would eventually find, as replacement hooker Vano Karkadze crashed over from the back of a maul.

Montpellier thought they had scored a fifth try through Enzo Forletta  but Willemse was penalised for holding Sam Parry on the ground, for an easy turnover for Montpellier. Bouthier managed to control a loose ball with a nice kick, and Jack Walsh was forced to find touch still inside their half. Montpellier attacked from the first phase, and Bouthier forced Protheroe into touch and eventually got their fifth try of the game as substitute Auguste Cadot forced his way over, and Louis Foursans had the easy task of adding the extras.

The Ospreys were pressing hard to find another try but Montpellier were solid in defence, forcing the Ospreys behind the gain line, with an excellent tackle from Reinach before pressure from Lam forced North into throwing a forward pass. The last 10 minutes saw a few handling errors from both sides who went into the game with intentions to run but Montpellier would score another try as youngster Auguste Cadot (signed from Biarritz Olympique) got his second as the centre picked up a loose ball and raced over. From the touchline, Foursans narrowly missed the conversion and so it remained a 5 pointer.

Clément Doumenc was awarded man of the match for a brilliant display, winning multiple turnovers and tackling hard throughout the game and the French side wanted to finish on a high as they looked to attack from their 22 but almost gave away an interception. The Ospreys had one more opportunity in the Montpellier 22 but North was hit by a big tackle by Pierre Lucas, and Reinach raced clear.

The speedster thought he was gone but was caught by a brilliant tackle, with the Ospreys then penalised for slowing the ball down, and Harri Houston (who was a late replacement for Keelan Giles) was sin binned. The third of the game for the Ospreys. Montpellier failed to add a 7th but the Ospreys tried to go the full length of the field but were unable to do so.

Tempers flared at the end in what was a clean game as Marco Tauleigne reacted angrily to a perfectly fine tackle, but the referee went back to the knock on to end the game.

Speaking to French television at the end of the game, the man of the match Doumenc played off claims that it was a perfect game, as they conceded a try. However, he sees that the group is growing in strength.

“we re-gained confidence, (as it is a) new competition, so obviously there was less pressure on us and we tried to do things simply… we worked hard in training, it was a bit harder last week but this time, against a nice Ospreys side, it was much better but this is the European Cup and we need to switch over to Castres quickly.”

Montpellier who sit bottom of the Top 14 after eight successive defeats will now turn their attention to Castres who they face at home on the 30th of December. The Ospreys will now focus on facing the Scarlets in a derby on Boxing Day. The Ospreys won the first fixture 31-9 and will be looking to complete the double over their local rivals.


TRIES: 5 (Bridge 11’, 22’, Coly 31’, Karkadze 59’, Cadot 65’, 77’)

CONVERSIONS: 4 (Garbisi 12’, 32’, 60’, Foursans 66’)





15. Anthony Bouthier 14. George Bridge 13. Pierre Lucas 12. Jan Serfontein 11. Ben Lam 10. Paolo Garbisi 9. Léo Coly 1. Baptiste Erdocio 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa 3. Harry Williams 4. Marco Tauleigne 5. Tyler Duguid 6. Yacouba Camara 7. Clément Doumenc 8. Sam Simmonds

16. Vano Karkadze 17. Enzo Forletta 18. Titi Lamositele 19. Paul Willemse 20. Masivesi Dakuwaqa 21. Cobus Reinach 22. Louis Foursans 23. Auguste Cadot


TRIES: 1 (Morgan-Williams 50’)




YELLOW CARDS: 3 (Morse 11’, North 32’, Houston 79’)


15. Jack Walsh 14. Mat Protheroe 13. George North 12. Owen Watkin 11. Harri Houston 10. Owen Williams 9. Reuben Morgan Williams 1. Nicky Smith 2. Dewi Lake 3. Tom Botha 4. James Fender 5. Adam Beard 6. Tristan Davies 7. Harri Deaves 8. Morgan Morse

16. Sam Parry 17. Gareth Thomas 18. Rhys Henry 19. Lewis Jones 20. Morgan Morse 21. Luke Davies 22. Dan Edwards 23. Luke Scully

Five talking points: Montpellier 38-5 Ospreys

1. International experience helps Montpellier to big win.

George Bridge, Ben Lam, Paolo Garbisi, Sam Simmonds and Anthony Bouthier all played key roles in helping Montpellier to a big win this Sunday afternoon. Garbisi set up Bridge twice and Sam Simmonds carried hard throughout the game.

2. Ospreys youth full of positivity but unable to find finishing touches.

Despite the number of youngsters, the Ospreys did not shy away from the intensity of the match and played with confidence despite the heavy score. Even with the clock in the red, Toby Booth’s men tried to run the full length of the field but too many unforced errors proved costly.

3. Ospreys scrum dominates.

Despite the size of the pack being a lot lighter than Montpellier, the Ospreys dominated in the scrum, winning a couple of penalties in the first half as they applied early pressure but failed to convert any points.

4. George Bridge ends his try drought.

Former All Black and Crusader, George Bridge had not scored all season for Montpellier but managed to score twice and had a strong performance winning a lot of high balls. Bridge had yet to find his try scoring form which he had back in New Zealand but will definitely gain confidence from this performance.

5. French side win back-to-back games for first time this season

After beating La Rochelle in round 1, Montpellier suffered eight defeats in a row including to relegation favourites Perpignan and Oyonnax so will take plenty of positives from their last 2 games as they their focus will return to the top 14 in 2 weeks time.