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Battle Of The Islands

  • September 21st, 2007
  • Posted by Sarah West

wallabies-1.jpgWORLD CUP RUGBY: Australia take on Fiji at Montpelier


The city of Montpellier, in the South of France, is the current stop on the Wallabies World Cup tour; where they take on Pacific neighbours, Fiji, this Sunday (23.9.07).

Montpellier is a “happening” city; its vibrancy can be attributed to a large student population, and also a thriving gay community.

City authorities promise it has a warm and friendly atmosphere, with open-minded inhabitants, and delightful architectural reminders of history are sprawled through-out its landscape.

Shopping in Montpellier is good, but a home-sick Wallabies fan may find sanctuary in some of the few sandy beaches in Europe, which are located to the south of the city.

This may be particularly irresistible given that it’s still end-of-summertime in that part of Europe.

As far as cuisine goes, stuffed mussels are a favourite. The food in this region has a Mediterranean influence, (what with the Mediterranean Sea lapping away at the beaches); garlic and olive oil heavily used in most dishes.

Even Australia’s Rugby team couldn’t resist a chance to learn how to cook the ‘Montpellier Way’, as some of the team, including Captain Stirling Mortlock, recently took part in a cooking class with local chef Jacques Pourcel.

Regional specialties include Languedoc Bouillibaisse – a fish soup with saffron and herbs; and Daube de Boeuf – a red wine, tomato and beef stew. Goat’s cheese is also popular.


The Wallabies could almost consider their next match at the Stade de la Mosson to be a home-game with Montpellier being their base during the first month of the tournament.

Australia are expected to comfortably win this match against the 11th ranked Fijians on Sunday, even without Stirling Mortlock and Stephen Larkham.

Mortlock will sit out the clash, opting to rest his injured shoulder for the finals, and George Gregan will captain the side until he returns.

This reappointment means that when Gregan takes the field against Fiji, he’ll equal the international captaincy record of 59 tests currently held by Englishman Will Carling.

Berrick Barnes will run on for Larkham, who’ll sit out the match to rest his recently repaired knee; and the rookie, Barnes, has showed he’s more than capable of doing something special in the number 10 jersey.

The likelihood of Australia winning this game is enhanced further by the fact that Fiji are expected to rest several of their more experienced players this time, in the hope of having a full strength side against Wales a week later.

A win against Wales would let Fiji into the World Cup quarter finals for the first time in 10 years … bula.

Interestingly, Wallaby Lote Tiquiri will celebrate his 28th birthday on Sunday playing against the country where he was born: Fjii.


Eurostar: Montpellier food and drink:

World 66: Montpelier Travel Guide: