Top 14 – Montpellier in the middle of a storm, Bernard Laporte towards the presidency

Top 14 – Montpellier in the middle of a storm, Bernard Laporte towards the presidency
Top 14 – Montpellier in the middle of a storm, Bernard Laporte towards the presidency

Shaken from all sides internally, the MHR seems more divided than ever with just over two weeks before an “access match”. It is in this context that President Mohed Altrad could pass the baton to Bernard Laporte, current director of rugby.

The defeat against the young Toulouse team (22-29, conceded on May 18), the sixth in a row in the Top 14 and the seventh in all competitions, was one too many. While the Hérault club hoped to win a big victory against the Toulouse bottle class to give themselves a little air in the rankings, this new defeat – without the slightest bonus point, in addition – set the fire to the powder. The players have already talked at length with each other in the locker room, as promising third row Lenni Nouchi indicated: “We spoke to each other in the locker room, just the players. We decided to move forward together, not to let each other go, to say it in each other’s eyes”.

A discussion which led to others, notably on the game the following Wednesday and especially on Sunday May 26 where according to our colleagues from Midi Libre, 35 of the 38 players in the squad voted to make an appointment during the day with President Mohed Altrad. Raised against the director of rugby Bernard Laporte for his overly brittle management and the manager Patrice Collazo, but also the assistants Christian Labit and Vincent Etcheto. The players initially wanted to express their dissatisfaction with the work during training.

However, they quickly understood that Bernard Laporte was irremovable. For what ? Because before this meeting, President Mohed Altrad had already informed him of his desire to hand over his position to him, in order to take some time off, while still maintaining his financial commitment to the Hérault club. A desire also expressed to the players during their Sunday interview. This is why, according to our information, Bernard Laporte should, from next season, become deputy president of Montpellier Hérault Rugby.

Paillaugue in the staff, Labit and Etcheto weakened

More changes are coming. President Mohed Altrad also expressed the wish that the club’s former emblematic scrum half, Benoît Paillaugue, join the first team staff after having set foot in the stirrup this season with the Espoir team. To follow the presidential will, Paillaugue joined the staff led by Laporte this week; and the latter immediately “switched” him towards video analysis to supervise the four potential opponents of the MHR with a view to the access match (Béziers, Grenoble, Vannes, Provence), and to make a summary.

If the future of manager Patrice Collazo does not seem threatened, the same would not be true for those of Christian Labit (assistant coach in charge of rucks and contact attitudes), and Vincent Etcheto (assistant coach in charge of offensive phases). The two men, weakened by the current crisis, could be “sacrificed” at the end of the current season, whatever its outcome.

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