Thursday, September 8, 2011

Argentina players in France - Montpellier

The surprize package of last season, Montpellier has recruited well to try to go one better after finisheind runners-up in the 2010-2011 Top 14 and looking like winning the Final after leading in the second half. The Mediterranean French team has a boiig advantage in that it is from a big city and has been able to grow while a number of traditional sides from South West France are not what they once were. Montpellier was established only in 1986 after the merger of Stade Montpelliérain and MUC Rugby. It is yet to win a Championship title but it is just a question of time as demonstrated in 2010-2011. The club has, however, won other titles such as the Challenge de l'Espérance in 1993. The club has only been in the Top 14 since 2003 as that year it won promotion to the elite level after winning the Pro d2. The teams progress has indeed been rapid and now it is time to kick on as this season it will compete in the Heineken Cup for the first time ever.

Montpellier's success in 2010-2011 was due to a number of factors but the most important were the clubs recruitment of Fabian Gaultie as headcoach and the clever purchasing of players the bolster the teams roster. Montpellier has players from three countries competing at the recently begun Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. The French backline is spearheaded by Francois Trinh-Duc while Fulgence Ouedraogo is an important backrower. The club also has Georgian internationals, notably Mamuka Gorgodze who is regarded as the countries best player of all time. USA international centre, Seta Tuiveluka plays for Montpellier biut is not playing in the Rugby World Cup after getting injured late in the 2010-2011 Top 14 season.

The club is also the home to five Pumas who are currently in New Zealand as well as a sixth who was a surprizingly left out of the squad altogether. Martín Bustos Moyano had a dream debut season for Montpellier and was Argentina's leading points scorer in Europe last season. He kicked Montpellier to a win in the Semi Final vs Racing Metro and was also instrumental in getting to the Semi Final after defeating Castres in the Top 14 barrage.  Inside centre, Santiago Fernandez was another who had a great debut season as he proved to, like Bustos Moyano, be great value for money as he contributed greatly to Montpellier's successful season. Juan Figallo was the teams starting loosehead prop and was able to leave his mark on the opposition in big matches with hjis scrumaging and general on field presence. For the new season he will be joined by his frontrow Pumas teammates in the form of hooker Agustin Creevy and tighthead prop Maximilano Bustos. With six Argentine players in the squad, Montpellier have more players from Argentina than any other club this season.

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