Beautiful poster in Bastia between the champion of France and the winner of the European Challenge (the two trophies sat on the lawn of the Armand-Cesari stadium, with very bare stands), but it was before a pre-season friendly match, the only one for the two clubs before the resumption of the Top 14 in two weeks. The opportunity, too, for Montpellier and Lyon, on an internship this week in Corsica, to see where they were in their preparation. And it was LOU who won, 21-17.
The two teams carried out a broad staff review (one team per half-time for the MHR, 5 changes at the break and 5 additional at the 50th for the LOU), tried a few new things (Garbisi in 12 rather than the opening on the MHR or Lambey side in the third row), launched young people and their recruits and spared their executives and internationals (Camara, Mercer, Bécognée or Rattez on the MHR side, Couilloud, Taufua, Cretin or Niniashvili on the LOU side).
Lyon more solid after the break
Despite a later recovery, it was the Montpellier residents who showed more juice at the start of the game. More biting, more aggressive, the French champions opened the scoring with a try from Nouchi after a scratch in their 22nd. The Lyonnais ended up regaining speed and were rewarded with a try from Pelissié (22nd) after a breakthrough from Nakataici on the wing. But at the break, the MHR logically led 17-7 with a second try from Lam (32nd), opportunistic and realistic on each Lyon error.
In the second period, Xavier Garbajosa’s players got their hands on the game and took the lead with two tries from Coltman (54th) and Doussain (62nd) to win 21-17. But the main thing was elsewhere: no injuries to deplore and plenty of lessons to debrief for the two staffs in the days to come.