Cape Town - Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann has pointed the finger
at Montpellier’s scrum tactics after his team were beaten 30-27 on
In an entertaining Champions Cup clash, the Cherry and
Whites played the last 24 minutes with a man advantage after Montpellier
lock Jacques du Plessis was sent off for a swinging arm on Gerbrandt
It allowed Gloucester to come right back into the equation with
second half tries from Matt Banahan and Joe Simpson - but it was not
enough for victory.
Ackermann felt Montpellier’s scrum - which was dominant throughout - was based around illegal technique used by tighthead prop Levan
“In the scrums there was a grey area and I felt there was a lot of
illegal stuff from Montpellier which was obviously missed. They got away
with it,” he said.
“I felt their tighthead was angling in. From where we sat he was
never straight. If he’s always angling in, then obviously the scrum is
going to look dominant there and it’s a pity it wasn’t taken in by the
“We tried to fix it and it got better in the second half, but the
reality is they got away with things in the first half. It’s not going
to change the result.”
Montpellier won 10 of their 11 scrums and their giant pack ultimately laid the platform for a narrow win.
First half tries from Jan Serfontein, Caleb Timu and Nemani Nadolo
put the hosts 24-10 up at the break with Callum Braley responsible for
Du Plessis’ red card gave Gloucester priceless momentum and Banahan and
Simpson crossed as Billy Twelvetrees kicked two conversions and two
Ultimately it was still not enough
for a win and Ackermann said he had no regrets about fielding a weakened
side despite his team coming so close to victory.
“The changes were thoroughly thought through. We selected a team we thought would be enough to win,” Ackermann said.
“We let ourselves down on execution,
but it definitely wasn’t down to a lack of effort. The players are
disappointed, but the one thing I saw was unity on the field.”
Back-to-back defeats mean Gloucester are bottom of Pool 5 and Ackermann said: “It will be tough to qualify.
“We’ll probably have to win all four
games now and that’s without looking at the other results. The club is
proud to be part of this world-class competition and we’re not happy
Du Plessis’ dismissal almost cost Montpellier the game, but 15 points
from the boot of Benoit Paillaugue ultimately proved crucial.
Wing Nadolo said: “It was a tough game. Gloucester bring that English style of play and they’re a very structured side.
“They ran us off our feet at the end and I was fortunate to get a try
and probably a bit unlucky not to get another one. We stuck in there
and came away with the win.
“The red card could have been a turning point had we not worked a bit
harder. It was disappointing obviously, but I thought we held our own.
It was pretty tough out there.”