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European Cup: after qualifying for the quarter-finals, the MHR towards a breathtaking end to the season

Qualified for the European quarters and first in the Top 14, the MHR can experience a radiant spring.

Apothecary calculations have changed a lot. They gave Montpellier fronts cold sweats last season, feverish until the stay in Top 14 be guaranteed two days before the end. The European Challenge served as the ideal aspirin. Today, Philippe Saint-André and his staff are struggling to find out how to finish quietly in the first two places in the championship and how to manage everyone’s holidays to be competitive in the quarter-finals of the European Cup. A last straight line far from that of last season.

1- Leftovers from last season

Players keep coming back to it. “Last season forged us”, they often repeat in front of journalists. But even off, they hammer home this truth. The staff too. The foundations of this team were built in this oh so psychologically exhausting period. The banal “the group lives well” has never been so truthful. “We were all buddies in the defeat last season. I swear, we stayed together all along. Imagine when we win this year…”assures one of the executives of the workforce.

? Back in pictures on the ✨ ????????????? ✨ from our Cistes for the quarter-finals of @ChampionsCup_EN ! #TeamMHR ?⚪️ #HARvMHR

– Montpellier Rugby (@MHR_officiel) April 17, 2022

The collective strength released at the end of the match, a weak point last season, is proof of this. Physically too, the players are fresh. The contribution of Benjamin Del Moral, responsible for physical preparation since last July, is not insignificant. This year, the MHR has more than ever used the mistakes of the past.

2- Now, who do we put?

On the other hand, a new puzzle is on the table of the Montpellier staff. For the last straight line towards the final stages, the infirmary empties. “At the end of the season, there is more injuriessmiles even Yacouba Camara, back last weekend after six weeks of absence (rupture of the tendon of the finger).

If the teams were almost “easy” to line up since the winter, this fashion of fifteen absences per game (injuries, selections) never ending, Philippe Saint-André will have to decide for the important matches. That of Bordeaux-Bègles, Sunday (9:05 p.m.), is one. The famous backbone (2-5-8-9-10-12-15) looks defined. But some positions are subject to stiff competition.

Read also: relive the live of the match between Harlequins and Montpellier

Who to pair up with Paul Willemse on the second row? The powerful Bastien Chalureau? Aerial Florian Verhaeghe and Janse Van Rensburg? The questions also remain in the third wing line (Camara, Bécognée, Ouedraogo, Galletier, Van Rensburg) or in the center alongside Geoffrey Doumayrou and in the absence of Jan Serfontein (Darmon, Reilhac, Lucas). The debates are launched.

3- No vacation on the horizon

If some had planned a vacation for the weekend of May 8, it was missed. By qualifying for the quarter-finals of the European Cup at the expense of Harlequins, the MHR can no longer count on the start of next month to breathe. “My wife asked me: ‘But when are you playing?'”laughed Philippe Saint-André on Saturday afternoon, almost annoyed to have to announce the news to Madame.

Here are the matches for the quarter-finals?

Who will join the final in Marseille? ?

Buy your tickets now ➡️

— Champions Cup France (@ChampionsCup_FR) April 17, 2022

Group management will therefore be a priority. Four days before the end of the championship, Montpellier will be forced to target their matches. His comfortable lead in the general standings (five points on 2nd, ten on 3rd) is a real asset. Sunday, against UBB, the club has the opportunity to almost validate your place in the first two places, synonymous with direct qualification for the semi-finals. “It will be a real quarter-final”, even promises “PSA”. Whether the MHR wins or not on Sunday, its end to the season promises to be breathtaking.

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