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RugbyU: Fiji's Viriviri signs with Montpellier

Fijian star Samisoni Viriviri said Wednesday he had signed with French club Montpellier and will switch to the Top 14 side in June. Viriviri, the joint top try scorer in last year's world rugby sevens series, said he felt the time was right to take the next step in his career after previously rejecting offers from French clubs. "I have signed with Montpellier a few days ago and I will join my new club in France in June after the world sevens series," he told AFP.

Football: Courbis returns to help ailing Montpellier

Struggling Ligue 1 side Montpellier on Saturday unveiled Rolland Courbis, their controversial former boss, as their new manager. Courbis, 60, who has signed a two-and-a-half year deal, returns for a second stint at the club 48 hours after the resignation of Jean Fernandez. Fernandez, who only took up the post at the beginning of the season, quit after guiding Montpellier to just two wins in 16 matches. That poor run of results has left the side hovering five points above the relegation zone.

Montpellier coach Fernandez resigns

PARIS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Montpellier coach Jean Fernandez quit his job on Thursday as the side struggles above the relegation zone in French Ligue 1. His resignation came the day after a 2-0 loss at home against Lorient, which leaves the club fouth from bottom amony 20 top-flight teams. The 59-year-old former Nancy coach took in charge of Montpellier at the beginning of the season, but the team just managed two wins from 16 matches under his reign.

RugbyU: Ranger, Ebersohn link up with Montpellier teammates

Former New Zealand international wing Rene Ranger and South African centre Robert Ebersohn on Monday arrived to significantly bolster Top 14 highflyers Montpellier's ranks. Ranger, 27, capped six times by the All Blacks but who called time on his international career to play for Montpellier, signed a two-year deal with the southern French side. Ebersohn, 24, arrived earlier on Monday while lock Sitaleki Timani, 27, is set to join them after Australia's final tour match against Wales on November 30.

France to hold first gay marriage after last-ditch protest

France on Wednesday celebrates its first gay marriage in the southern city of Montpellier after months of bitter debate and opposition that saw tens of thousands take to the streets. Officially a secular republic, France is overwhelmingly Catholic, and the issue of gay adoption and marriage -- a key campaign pledge of Socialist President Francois Hollande -- has caused deep divisions.

Football: Fernandez to replace Girard at Montpellier

Out-going French champions Montpellier on Monday confirmed that Jean Fernandez will succeed Rene Girard as coach next season. Fernandez, 58, who left struggling Nancy in January, will sign a two-year deal with Montpellier which will come into effect from July. Girard took over at the Stade de la Mosson in the summer of 2009 but Montpellier president Louis Nicollin revealed last month that he would not be offering his title-winning coach an extension to his existing deal, which expires at the end of this campaign.

RugbyU: Montpellier host Racing in play-off crunch

Montpellier and Racing-Metro will be playing for their play-off futures when the pair meet at the Du Manoir stadium in the south of France this weekend. The pair are dead level on points and occupy the last two play-off berths but have Perpignan, who host Grenoble in another encounter with play-off credentials, breathing hard down their necks. Should Perpignan win they would likely leapfrog the loser in Montpellier, meaning neither side there can afford a setback.

Soccer-Montpellier's Jeunechamp has suspension reduced

PARIS, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Montpellier defender Cyril Jeunechamp's one-year ban for hitting a reporter has been reduced to six months, with a further six months suspended, the Ligue 1 club said on Tuesday. French champions Montpellier said on their website (www.mhscfoot.com) that the decision was made by the French football federation's Appeal Commission. The reduction in the ban, which started on Nov. 23, means Jeunechamp will be eligible for the final round of matches of the Ligue 1 season on May 26.

Handball: Karabatic slapped with maximum suspension

France's star handball player, double Olympic champion Nikola Karabatic, was suspended for six matches on Tuesday, along with six other players accused of betting on a club match suspected of being rigged. The seven players received the maximum suspension allowed under the national handball league's (LNH) regulations. The players, all at the time playing for Montpellier, can carry on playing if they choose to appeal the punishment in the next five days.
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