Montgomery back on parade
January 14, 2008
Percy Montgomery will need no introduction to Rodney Parade when Perpignan bid to clinch quarter-final qualification with a victory over Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday.
The 2007 World Cup winning full back played two seasons of Heineken Cup rugby at the ground for the Dragons in 2003 / 2004 and 2004/2005 when he established himself as a huge favourite with the fans.
Now he faces his former club in a big Pool 1 clash with a place in the last eight on the line for the 2003 Heineken Cup finalists.
"It's a crucial game for us - we really need a bonus point to reach the quarter-finals and it's going to be a tough match," said the player who kicked 12 points in South Africa's 15-6 RWC final win over England in Paris last October.
"They will be pretty confident as they are playing well at the moment and will no doubt be looking to win on their home turf.
"I have great memories of Newport, especially when Mike Ruddock came in with Clive Griffiths and we brought in that rush defence and I think Newport had a great season then and I had a great couple of years with them.
"I believe I played well for the club and then I got the international call-up from back home. Newport was an awesome experience for me and I had the time of my life there.
"I got the chance to mix with some fantastic people and I can't wait to go there and see some of the guys. Having said that, it's a massively important game for us as well as being a special game for me and we are very focussed on getting the result we need.
"It's crucial to get the win after the start to the season we had when we had a lot of injury problems - although that gives the younger guys a chance to step up to the plate and prove themselves so in the longer-term it's not always a bad thing.
"We have a lot of academy guys who are there or thereabout and looking to try and secure themselves a position in the team.
"I have to say that conditions in Newport are not a worry for me, having made my debut for Perpignan down here in the snow.
"Obviously it was not nice arriving here injured and not being able to play for four or five weeks but the knee seems to have recovered well and I was able to play 80 minutes against Brive and I'm very happy to have got my first full match for Perpignan under my belt. It's taken a while for us as a family to settle in France but I've had the chance to focus on my French a bit so I'm getting there slowly.
"Training has gone well this week and hopefully everything will come together on Saturday. In terms of full fitness, it will obviously take a few games as I was out for a long time so I'm focussing on fitness and I've started kicking again, which is great. I'm just working hard at the moment and it's nice to actually get back out on the field.
"I think I've taken on a bit of responsibility within the team which I have always had in my career so I'm pleased to be able to bring a bit of experience to the team, but you're never too old to learn so I've already been learning things from some of the young guys."
FRIDAY 18 JANUARY, 2008
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