We continue our run-through of Heineken Champions Cup Pool B teams with a look at Montpellier Hérault Rugby, two-time winners of the EPCR Challenge Cup.
Heineken Champions Cup record
Montpellier have twice reached the quarter-finals of EPCR’s leading tournament – in 2012-13, their second season in it, and last term – but on both occasions progressed no further, losing 36-14 at ASM Clermont Auvergne in 2013 and 31-19 at Stade Rochelais earlier this year.
Montpellier’s Heineken Champions Cup Pool A campaign was disrupted by coronavirus complications, but a dramatic 37-26 win over Exeter Chiefs in Round 4 saw them book their place in the Round of 16.
The TOP 14 side welcomed Harlequins to GGL Stadium in the first leg and delivered a superb performance to win 40-26, before going down 33-20 loss in the return match to squeeze through 60-59 on aggregate.
However, Montpellier’s EPCR journey was ended by the eventual champions at Stade Marcel Deflandre.
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Director of rugby
Philippe Saint-André took the reins at Montpellier in 2021 and guided them to their second Challenge Cup triumph that year, before taking them to the TOP 14 title earlier this year.
It was the second Challenge Cup title the former France wing has won as a director of rugby, having steered Sale Sharks to the trophy in 2005.
The 69-time French international led his national side between 2012 and 2015, and also had spells in charge of RC Toulon and Gloucester Rugby.
Prop Enzo Forletta, lock Paul Willemse and back-row forward Yacouba Camara are among Montpellier’s French internationals in the pack, while USA prop Titi Lamositele, South African lock Nico Janse van Rensburg and Fiji back-row forward Masivesi Dakuwaqa are further talents.
English No.8 Zach Mercer was a standout performer in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup and will be looking for another strong campaign before joining Gloucester next year.
In the backs, Cobus Reinach is a vastly experienced South Africa scrum-half, France’s Louis Carbonel has bolstered the options at fly-half after moving from Toulon and compatriot Anthony Bouthier is a reliable full-back.
Montpellier travel to London Irish in the opening game of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup on December 9, before they continue their Pool B campaign by hosting Ospreys at GGL Stadium a week later.
They then travel to the Welsh region in Round 3 on January 14 before concluding their pool stage at home to London Irish on January 22.