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Montpellier sack Patrice Collazo 24 hours after relegation escape

By Neil Fissler
Montpellier's French head coach Patrice Collazo looks on prior to the French Top14 rugby union match between Montpellier Herault Rugby and Stade Toulousain Rugby (Toulouse) at The GGL Stadium in Montpellier, southern France on May 18, 2024. (Photo by Sylvain THOMAS / AFP) (Photo by SYLVAIN THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Montpellier have rewarded Patrice Collazo for saving them from relegation with the sack less than 24 hours after winning the Top 14 access match with Grenoble.

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Collazo was handed control of Montpellier in November, two weeks after being sacked by Brive following the dismissal of former Leicester Tigers legend Richard Cockerill, who is now in charge of Georgia.

The former La Rochelle and Toulon boss always faced an uphill struggle at Montpellier, which lost six of its first seven games of the season. He was never able to lift them out of the danger zone.

Owner Mohed Altrad brought in disgraced former French coach Bernard Laporte as the side’s new director of rugby and has decided that another change of direction is needed for the 2022 Top 14 champions.

Montpellier, who were European Challenge Cup winners in 2021 after being Leicester in London, saved their top-flight status when Louis Carbonel converted a late penalty to see off brave Grenoble 20-18.

And now, a day after orchestrating their comeback at The Stade des Alpes, Collazo will find himself looking for a new job for the second time in nine months, with his axing expected to be confirmed at any time.

Billionaire Altrad has been locked in meetings all day and is expected to clean house in the coaching office with Vincent Etcheto and Christian Labit, also expected to leave through the exit door.

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Laporte is set for promotion as club president-elect. Former training centre boss Joan Caudullo will join him to work with the senior team, and Benoit Paillaugue will join him as Montpellier’s new head coach.

The club have also been busy in the transfer market, with 12 players, including Billy Vunipola, joining the club and another 12, including match-winning Carbonel, who is joining Stade Francais on their way out.

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