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From Bod’s hat-trick to Sexton’s drop-goal, no opponent has defined this Irish rugby century quite like France

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Philippe Saint-Andre admits he lost it with Montpellier players at halftime

By PA
Press Association

Montpellier coach Philippe Saint-Andre revealed he “screamed” at his team at half-time as he criticised their “apathetic” first-half performance in their Heineken Champions Cup draw with London Irish.

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The Top 14 champions trailed 14-0 at half-time, and 21-0 early in the second half, but hit back to snatch a 21-21 draw to reach the last 16 and end Irish’s European hopes.

Former Gloucester and France coach Saint-Andre, who has seen his side suffer two defeats to the Ospreys in the competition, admitted he was worried by his team’s “two faces”.

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“I remember that we have still qualified for the final phase of the Champions Cup. Even without being exceptional, we are still there,” he said.

“But I don’t understand this first half where we are apathetic, without energy. We walk and we suffer.

“We have a different second period with crazy energy, we could even have won with the offensive bonus on the last action.

“We have two faces, it’s not the first time, that’s what is quite worrying.

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“They are effective when we have to miss 10 scoring opportunities.

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“Our chances/try ratio is not good enough, even if we have the character to finish well.

“But I find it difficult to understand this lack of responsiveness, of commitment in the first period.

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“I screamed at half-time, I’m not going to start screaming until kick-off. It belongs to the players, to the leaders.

“We cannot enter the match with so little intensity. Now, we are going to play an away round of 16, we don’t deserve better.”

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London Irish were 21 points up with 48 minutes gone, Adam Coleman, Juan Martin Gonzalez and Agustin Creevy all crossing in an impressive display from the visitors.

But Montpellier grew into the game in the second half and hit back through Thomas Darmon, Vincent Giudicelli and Cobus Reinach to level the scores.

The draw left Irish without a win in the pool stage and ensured Sale’s spot in the European Challenge Cup round of 16 at their expense.

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