Mariette Adams

Van den Heever lights up Top League

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


– Scrumhalf Nic Groom and his second-half replacement Cobus Reinach each scored a try for the Northampton Saints in their 40-25 win over London Irish. Lock David Ribbans played alongside the duo for the Saints. Locks Sebastien de Chaves and Franco van der Merwe and tighthead prop Petrus du Plessis all started for London Irish.

Juan de Jongh and Ashley Johnson were in the Wasps side that slumped to a 31-17 defeat at the hands of the Exeter Chiefs. Johnson scored Wasps’ first try with a brilliant individual effort. Flank Don Armand started and scored for the Chiefs.Tim Swiel and his Harlequins teammates suffered an agonising 31-28 defeat against the Leicester Tigers at the Stoop. Swiel, who was a second-half substitute, kicked one conversion.

– Saracens, with flank Michael Rhodes in the run-on XV and front rowers Schalk Brits and Vincent Koch on the bench, hammered the Sale Sharks 41-13. Faf de Klerk, Josh Strauss and Jono Ross earned starting berths for Sale, with De Klerk kicking over a penalty.

– The Newcastle Falcons edged Bath 33-32 at the Rec in an exciting match. Bok flank Francois Louw played for Bath. Wing DTH van der Merwe made his debut for the Falcons and scored a try in his first game.

– Gloucester secured a hard-fought 24-19 win against the Worcester Warriors. No 8 Ruan Ackermann won his battle against opposite number GJ van Velze, while utility back Dean Hammond was on Worcester’s bench.


– Lock George Earle’s Cardiff Blues beat Connacht 17-15 to secure their first win of the season. Lock Quinn Roux started for Connacht.

– Zebre, with Johan Meyer and Derick Minnie in their ranks, recorded a crucial 43-17 bonus-point win over the Kings in Port Elizabeth.

– Former Bulls duo Werner Kruger and David Bulbring formed part of the Scarlets team that beat Edinburgh 28-8. Kruger scored one of the four tries that ensured the Scarlets got a bonus point. Prop WP Nel started in Edinburgh’s front row.

– The Glasgow Warriors cruised to a 37-10 bonus-point triumph over Munster. Lock Jean Kleyn was in Munster’s run-on XV, while centre Jaco Taute was among the replacements.

– Flank Braam Steyn scored the only try of the game to help Treviso upset a star-studded Ospreys side 16-6.

– Lock Robbie Diack and hooker Rob Herring started for Ulster, but it was their compatriot Wiehahn Herbst who came off the bench to score a try in the team’s 52-25 demolition of the Dragons. Fullback Carl Meyer, inside centre Pat Howard, lock Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris were on duty for the Dragons.


– A late try gave Toulon a scrappy 19-15 win over Stade Français in Paris. Flyhalf Morné Steyn accounted for all Stade’s points via four penalties and a drop goal. Charl McLeod, Willem Alberts and Gurthrö Steenkamp featured alongside Steyn for the hosts. Prop Marcel van der Merwe and wing JP Pietersen played for Toulon.

– Locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen and prop Albertus Buckle were in the Lyon side that stunned Castres 31-12. Centre Robert Ebersohn, scrumhalf Rory Kockott and front rowers Jody Jenneker and Dan Kötze represented Castres, with Kockott slotting three penalty kicks.

Ricky Januarie and his Agen teammates slumped to a 20-14 defeat against Pau at the Stade Armandie. Januarie was among the reserves and came off the bench in the second half.

– Bordeaux, with Jandre Marais at No 4 lock, claimed a stunning 47-17 win against their more fancied opponents, Montpellier. Outside centre Henry Immelman, No 8 Wiaan Liebenberg and lock Jacques du Plessis all started for Montpellier, while scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar was used off the bench.

Paul Jordaan’s La Rochelle thrashed Steven Sykes and Kevin Buys’ Oyonnax 57-12. Jordaan was in fine form for the hosts and scored a try early in the second half. Former Kings scrumhalf James Hall started for Oyonnax. 

– Toulouse battled to a 24-19 win against hosts Brive. Maks van Dyk and Danie Minnie did service for Toulouse, while locks Johan Snyman and Peet Marais represented Brive.

– Lock Flip van der Merwe started for Clermont in an ill-disciplined but riveting 23-21 win against Racing 92. The match produced three yellow cards. Flank Bernard le Roux was in Racing’s starting lineup.


– The Kobelco Steelers overturned a half-time deficit to defeat the Toshiba Brave Lupus 32-25. Coenraad van Wyk played flyhalf for the Brave Lupus and contributed 15 points via a try, two conversions and two penalties.

– Flanks Lappies Labuschagne and Grant Hattingh featured for the Kubota Spears, who slumped to a 54-17 defeat against Suntory Sungoliath. Hattingh scored the opening try of the game for the Spears.

– Fullback Shane Gates was in the NTT Communications Shining Arcs team that beat the Toyota Industries Shuttles 32-24. Centre JJ Engelbrecht and flyhalf Francois Brummer turned out for the Shuttles and scored a try each. Brummer also knocked over two conversions.

– The NEC Green Rockets defeated the Munakata Sanix Blues 29-17. Flank Jacques Potgieter, prop Hencus van Wyk and centre André Esterhuizen turned out for the Sanix Blues, who had to finish the game with 14 men after conceding a red card early in the second half.

– The Panasonic Wild Knights inflicted a 43-16 defeat on the Toyota Verblitz. Gio Aplon, Lionel Cronjé and Jason Jenkins represented Verblitz, with Cronjé contributing 11 points via three penalties and a conversion.

– Wing Gerhard van den Heever bagged a brace as the Yamaha Jubilo thrashed the Canon Eagles 69-21. Lwazi Mvovo started at fullback for the Eagles.

Wimpie van der Walt, Riaan Viljoen and Jurgen Visser starred for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in their 31-21 win against the Kintetsu Liners. Viljoen kicked four penalties and two conversions for a 16-point haul. Ruan Combrinck played inside centre for the Liners and was yellow-carded in the 22nd minute.

Compiled by Mariette Adams

Photo: Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

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