Mariette Adams

Cronjé crucial, Mapoe magical in Japan

Lionel Cronjé Lionel Cronjé looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Pro14, French Top 14 and Japanese Top League matches, involving South African players.


Tim Swiel’s Harlequins claimed a 42-26 bonus-point win over the Sale Sharks at the Stoop. Captain and flank Jono Ross, No 8 Josh Strauss and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk started for Sale, with De Klerk kicking two conversions.

– Title-holders the Exeter Chiefs came out 34-24 victors in an entertaining affair against the Newcastle Falcons. Flank Don Armand was on duty for Exeter. Wing DTH van der Merwe started for the Falcons, but was yellow-carded in the 62nd minute for foul play.

– Gloucester, with Ruan Ackermann at No 8, pipped the Northampton Saints 29-24 in a thrilling encounter at the Kingsholm Stadium. Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, lock David Ribbans and prop Francois van Wyk represented the Saints, who relinquished top spot after the loss.

– Wing Dean Hammond, centre Wynand Olivier and eighthman Gerrit-Jan van Velze all featured for the Worcester Warriors in their 29-12 defeat to Bath at the Rec. Hammond scored the visitors’ first try. The Warriors are the only side yet to win a game this season.

– London Irish, with Sebastian de Chaves, Franco van der Merwe and Petrus du Plessis in their ranks, fell agonisingly short as they lost 28-27 to the Leicester Tigers. Prop Pat Cilliers was a second-half replacement for the Tigers.

Brad Barritt led Saracens to a commanding 38-19 bonus-point victory against struggling Wasps, while prop Vincent Koch joined his captain and compatriot on the field in the second half. Willie le Roux (fullback) and Ashley Johnson (hooker) started for Wasps. Centre Juan de Jongh was on Wasps’ bench and came on as a blood replacement for a couple of minutes.


– Blindside flank Braam Steyn starred for Treviso in their 31-3 win against the Kings. The result took Treviso up to fifth in the Conference B standings.

CJ Stander and his Munster teammates slumped to a 23-17 defeat against arch-rivals Leinster at the Aviva Stadium. Munster are second in Conference A and Leinster third in Conference B.

– Forwards Werner Kruger and David Bulbring were second-half replacements for the Scarlets during an exciting 19-18 victory against the Ospreys in Swansea. With the win, the Scarlets rose to top position in Conference B.

– Sarel Pretorius and Brok Harris were in the Dragons side that suffered a shock 43-29 defeat at the hands of the Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park. It was the Blues’ second win of the season.

– Louis Ludik, Jean Deysel, Robbie Diack, Wiehahn Herbst and Rob Herring all played a part for Ulster, who defeated Connacht 16-8 at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Lock Quinn Roux took up a starting role in Connacht’s lineup.

– Edinburgh, featuring Cornell du Preez, Anton Bresler, WP Nel and Allan Dell, escaped with a 16-15 triumph against the gritty Zebre. Flanks Johan Meyer and Derick Minnie, and hooker Luhandré Luus did service for Zebre.


– Stade Français, with Willem Alberts, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Charl McLeod and Morné Steyn in their match-day squad, caused the upset of the weekend when they took down Montpellier 31-20 in Paris. Henry Immelman played centre for Montpellier outside the halfback axis of Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar, while locks Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Jacques du Plessis started in tandem, with Bismarck du Plessis at hooker. Bismarck scored a try and Pienaar kicked two penalties and two conversions.

– Brive beat Castres 27-22 to end a six-match losing streak and claim their first win of the campaign. Locks Peet Marais and Retief Marais and prop Jan Uys were on duty for the winners; while Robert Ebersohn and front rowers Dan Kötze and Jody Jenneker played for Castres.

– Lourens Adriaanse’s Pau edged hosts Oyonnax 19-16 at the Stade Charles-Mathon to move into the top of half of the standings. James Hall, Steven Sykes and Kevin Buys turned out for Oyonnax.

– Lyon, with Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen at lock and Albertus Buckle at tighthead, were too good for Agen and claimed a 25-6 win. Agen had Johann Sadie at outside centre and Ricky Januarie at scrumhalf. Lyon are now top of the log.

– Lock Jandré Marais and flyhalf Tian Schoeman formed part of the Bordeaux team that held off Toulon to claim a 30-27 triumph. Lock Juandré Kruger started and scored for Toulon, while fellow Bok JP Pietersen was on the bench.

– La Rochelle continued their good start to the season with a crucial 16-9 victory over Racing 92 at home. Centre Paul Jordaan was used as a second-half replacement by La Rochelle. Bernard le Roux and Antonie Claassen represented Racing, who are now in the bottom half of the table.

– Defending champions Clermont’s struggles continued as they lost 28-18 to Toulouse in the last game of the round. Wing Cheslin Kolbe, Danie Mienie and Maks van Dyk were influential for Toulouse. Fullback Scott Spedding and lock Flip van der Merwe were in Clermont’s run-on XV.


– Twelve points from the boot of Lionel Cronjé lifted the Toyota Verblitz to a hard-fought 12-6 win over the Ricoh Black Rams. Cronjé kicked three penalties and a drop goal. He played alongside fullback Gio Aplon, flank Juan Smith, lock Jason Jenkins and prop Ruan Smith.

– The NTT Communications Shining Arcs defeated the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes 27-18. Centre Shane Gates, who scored a try, played alongside No 8 Willie Britz for the Shining Arcs. Lock Wimpie van der Walt, eighthman Ryan Kankowski and Riaan Viljoen earned starting berths for the Red Hurricanes, with Jürgen Visser on the bench. Kankowski and Viljoen crossed for a try each, while the latter also kicked two penalties and a conversion.

– Outside centre Lionel Mapoe scored a brace to guide the Kubota Spears to a 28-14 win over the Kintetsu Liners. Openside flank Lappies Labuschagne played alongside Mapoe, while No 4 lock Michael Stolberg represented the Liners.

– Loosehead prop Hencus van Wyk and centre André Esterhuizen turned out for the Munakaka Sanix Blues in their humiliating 45-10 defeat against the Suntory Sungoliath in Chichibu.

– The Canon Eagles sprung a surprise when they toppled the high-flying Kobe Kobelco Steelers 31-26. Former Springbok lock Andries Bekker started in the Steelers’ second row.

– Coenraad van Wyk starred for the Toshiba Brave Lupus in their 33-24 triumph against the Coca-Cola Red Sparks. The fullback contributed 13 points via a try and four conversions.

Photo: Lionel Cronje/Instagram

Willie le Roux in SA Rugby magazine

Willie a fans’ favourite at Wasps

Willie le Roux is focused on his club career at Wasps, but hasn’t given up hope of a Springbok recall, writes MARTIN GILLINGHAM.

Transformation in SA Rugby magazine

Behind the black ball

The Springboks will struggle to field a side that is 50% black at the 2019 World Cup, writes JON CARDINELLI.

The Springboks hunt down England fullback Mike Brown

Boks can target embattled England

England’s dramatic fall from grace should provide an ideal opportunity for the Springboks to make a successful start to the Rassie Erasmus era in June, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

You may also like

Get our daily email update. Subscribe to the SA Rugby magazine newsletter: