SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Pro14, French Top 14 and Major League Rugby matches involving South African players.
– Munster progressed to the semi-finals and brought Benetton Treviso’s fairytale run to an end with a 15-13 victory in Limerick. CJ Stander, Chris Cloete and Jean Kleyn all started for Munster, while Arno Botha replaced Cloete in the final 20 minutes of the match. Stander made a total of 37m from 17 carries and won a decisive, yet controversial, turnover penalty in the closing stages of the game. Dewaldt Duvenage put in another composed performance at scrumhalf for Treviso, while flank Braam Steyn stood out, making 42m from 15 carries. Irné Herbst came off the bench for the Italians. Munster will travel to face defending champions Leinster in a repeat of last season’s semi-final.
– Marcell Coetzee put in a Man of the Match performance to help Ulster beat Connacht 21-13 in the second qualifier at the Kingspan Stadium. Coetzee, playing at No 8, scored the decisive try for the hosts with three minutes left on the clock, while making a massive total of 24 carries and 14 tackles. Rob Herring replaced veteran hooker Rory Best with just over 10 minutes to go, leaving him little time to impact the match. Ulster take on the Glasgow Warriors in the first of the semi-final’s next Friday.
– Faf de Klerk scored a crucial second-half try to help the Sale Sharks salvage a 20-20 draw against the Bristol Bears. De Klerk finished off an attack just after the break to add to his long-range penalty. The scrumhalf had a chance to win the game with a second penalty in the final minute, but pushed his attempt wide. Jono Ross was also in action for Sale, but was yellow-carded in the 79th minute. Sale stayed in seventh place, six points off the top four.
– Gloucester beat the Newcastle Falcons 28-19 to seal their opponents’ relegation to the Championship next season. Franco Marais, Franco Mostert, Ruan Ackermann and Jaco Kriel were all in the Gloucester pack, while tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer was a replacement in the second half. Ackermann was the standout of the starting quintet, making 43m and 17 tackles. Gloucester have already sealed third place on the log with just one round remaining, while Newcastle will be unable to catch the Leicester Tigers, who sit 10 points ahead of them.
– The Northampton Saints stayed in fourth place by claiming a 38-10 victory over the Worcester Warriors. Cobus Reinach continued his starting role for the Saints and assisted one of their five tries. His opposite number, Francois Hougaard, put in a good defensive performance, making 10 tackles and winning two turnovers. Francois Venter, Nic Schonert, Anton Bresler, Cornell du Preez and captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze all did duty for the Warriors. Francois van Wyk was a substitute for the Saints.
– Saracens gave themselves a chance of finishing top of the table by beating the first-placed Exeter Chiefs 38-7. Vincent Koch and Schalk Burger both started for the defending champions, who could finish in first, should they beat the Worcester Warriors with a bonus point and the Chiefs lose their final fixture against the Saints. Koch made six carries, 12 tackles and one turnover, while Burger made 11 carries, 18 tackles and also won a turnover.
– Nizaam Carr’s first-half try was in vain as Wasps slumped to a 29-17 loss to Bath, effectively ending their title aspirations. Carr’s try helped Wasps take a 17-10 half-time lead, but a late flurry of tries saw Bath steal the victory. Willie le Roux and Juan de Jongh were in the Wasps backline, while Ashley Johnson was a second-half replacement. Jacques van Rooyen was on the bench for Bath, who are five points off the top four.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Cheslin Kolbe scored a brace in Toulouse’s 13-try 83-6 thrashing of Pau. Flank Rynhardt Elstadt and prop Maks van Dyk were also in the Toulouse lineup. Toulouse are now seven points clear at the summit of the table.
Here is that Kolbe try ⬇️
Fair to say Pau’s defence has not really shown up, 40-6 at half-time!pic.twitter.com/PEwNTAuKd7
— Paul Eddison (@pauleddison) May 4, 2019
– In a bottom-of-the-log battle, Agen beat Grenoble 29-11 to boost their chances of avoiding relegation. Prop Jaco Janse van Rensburg and lock Francois Uys played for Grenoble. Former Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie featured as one of Agen’s replacements.
– Morné Steyn hit a crucial drop goal late in the game to guide Stade Français to a stunning 27-23 upset win over their city rivals Racing 92. Flank Hendré Stassen and scrumhalf Piet van Zyl featured alongside Steyn for the winning team. Flank Bernard le Roux played for Racing. The derby victory sees Stade move within four points of the sixth-placed Racing on the log.
– Jaco van Tonder and the soon-to-be retired Flip van der Merwe represented Clermont, who hammered Perpignan 35-13 to secure a home semi-final. Prop Gert Muller and lock Johannes van Heerden started for the relegation-bound Perpignan, who are rooted to the foot of the standings.
– Castres, with centre Robert Ebersohn, scrumhalf Rory Kockott, prop Dan Kötze and hooker Jody Jenneker in their ranks, slumped to a agonising 12-9 home defeat against Montpellier. Bismarck du Plessis, locks Jacques du Plessis and Paul Willemse, Jan Serfontein and Henry Immelman turned out for Montpellier, who are seventh on the log, one place away from a spot in the playoffs.
– Toulon’s playoff hopes were shattered following their 30-21 loss at the hands of the high-flying La Rochelle. Springbok tighthead prop Marcel van der Merwe started for the beleaguered Toulon.
– Forwards Deon Fourie, Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen formed part of the Lyon side that defeated Bordeaux 34-10 to book their place in the knockout stage. The loss dents Bordeaux’s changes of reaching the playoffs.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY
– Props Franco van den Berg and Frikkie de Beer, and their Utah Warriors teammates slumped to a heavy 64-24 defeat against the Glendale Raptors. Scrumhalf and captain Shaun Davies, and midfield duo Chad London and Robbie Petzer started and all scored for the Raptors. Davies went over for a try, London bagged a brace and Petzer completed a stunning hat-trick.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) May 5, 2019
– The New Orleans Gold clinched a 26-14 win over minnows Austin Elite to reclaim top spot on the log. Prop Hubert Buydens, centre Tristan Blewett and fullback JP Eloff were in Nola Gold’s run-on XV. Captain Eloff kicked two of his team’s conversions. Fullback Zinzan Elan-Puttick, flank Rikus Zwart, hooker Tiaan Erasmus and No 8 Kyle Breytenbach were on duty for the winless Austin.
– The Toronto Arrows, with Rob Brouwer at loosehead prop, inflicted a 23-19 defeat of the San Diego Legion. Centre JP du Plessis scored the opening try for San Diego, whose captain Joe Pietersen also scored a try to go with his two conversions. The result ended San Diego’s five-game winning streak.
Try Time! Pietersen ➡️ Du Plessis for five.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) May 5, 2019
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images