Montpellier secure semi-final spot

Date published: June 12 2016

Montpellier secured the last Top 14 semi-final spot after they thoroughly beat Castres 28-9  in the last Top 14 quarter-final at the Altrad Stadium in Montpellier on Sunday.

The win for Jake White's men mean that they will face off with the three-time European champions, Toulon on June 18, as they continue to build on their fine form after claiming the Challenge Cup by laying claim on yet another title.

As the final score suggests, Montpellier were in full control although some facets of the game were tightly contested, with the half-time score firmly on 11-3 in favour of Montpellier.

Tries for the home side came via Timoci Nagusa, Paul Willemse and Pierre Spies as they outscored Castres by three tries to zero. The boot of Demetri Catrakilis adding 13 points from the tee.

The tenacity of Montpellier scrum-half Benoit Paillaugue along with the confident attacking prowess of midfielders Francois Steyn and Anthony Tuitavake ensured the home side's powerful forwards dominated the contact.

Despite a brave and spirited fight-back from the visitors, it wasn't enough to outsmart Montpellier as the home side never looked like a team wanting to ease off even with the scoreboard firmly in their favour. 

Just as Castres were looking to gain some form of momentum, this after the home side were reduced to 14 men following Jannie du Plessis' yellow card, it was, however, halted when the Montpellier management staff could not come to a conclusion who to bring on in place of du Plessis, which saw the match being stopped just shy of ten minutes.

The Challenge Cup champions starved the visitors of any ball in the final few minutes which saw South African-born number eight Pierre Spies dealing the final blow in the 74th minute and the conversion from Catrikilis and an earlier penalty saw the home side book a spot in the semi-final.

The scorers:

For Montpellier:
Tries: Nagusa, Willemse, Spies
Cons:  Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 3
Yellow Card: J du Plessis

For Castres: 
Pens: Urdapilleta, Kockott 2

Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Jesse Mogg, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Benoit Paillaugue, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Jacques Du Plessis, 3 Davit Kubriashvili, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Mickael Ivaldi, 17    Yvan Watremez, 18 Robins Tchale-Watchou, 19    Kelian Galletier, 20 Nic White, 21    Ben Lucas, 22 Marvin O'Connor, 23 Jannie du Plessis 

Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 David Smith, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Alexandre Bias, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Karena Wihongi, 2 Brice Mach, 1 Antoine Tichit
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Mihaita Lazar, 18    Christophe Samson, 19 Mathieu Babillot, 20 Julien Seron, 21 Julien Dumora, 22    Rudi Wulf, 23 Eric Sione