SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Premiership, Top 14, Pro14 and Major Rugby League matches involving South African players.
– The Newcastle Falcons enhanced their chances of Premiership survival with a crucial 17-6 win against the Worcester Warriors. Kyle Cooper made a good impact off the bench for the Falcons, making four carries and winning a turnover in the final quarter of the match. The Warriors contingent of South African players, including centre Francois Venter, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, tighthead prop Nic Schonert and lock Anton Bresler all had quiet afternoons.
– Saracens continued their dominance over the Northampton Saints with a convincing 36-17 win, giving the defending champions their ninth straight victory over their opponents. Saracens captain Brad Barritt enjoyed a solid outing before being replaced just after half-time, setting up one of their six tries. Both Vincent Koch and Schalk Burger were second-half replacements, with Burger winning two turnovers for his side. Heinrich Brüssow started in the slightly unfamiliar role at No 8, but still made 19 tackles and a turnover. Cobus Reinach came off the bench for the Saints in the second half.
– Don Armand scored a try to help the Exeter Chiefs survive a late comeback from the Sale Sharks and win 20-14. Armand crossed for one of the Chiefs’ three tries just before the break, while also making a total of 25 tackles in the match. Sharks centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg had a subdued outing, making only 23 metres with ball in hand, while Faf de Klerk managed to run 40 metres and make 11 tackles. Jono Ross and Josh Strauss were in the Sharks’ loose trio.
– The Leicester Tigers claimed just their second win of the year by beating Wasps 19-14. Both Willie le Roux and Juan de Jongh started in the Wasps’ backline, with De Jongh proving the more effective of the two, making 44 metres and winning three turnovers. Ashley Johnson, who made an outstanding 51m from 14 carries, and Nizaam Carr also started for Wasps.
– Harlequins scored an 80th minute try to steal a 31-29 away victory against Bath. Francois Louw started as openside flank for Bath and managed to make a total of 10 tackles before being replaced a minute into the second half.
– Bristol Bears were awarded a second-half penalty try to help them beat Gloucester 28-24. Gloucester had three South Africans – Franco Mostert, Ruan Ackermann and Jaco Kriel – in their starting lineup and brought a fourth – hooker Franco Marais – into the match in the second half. Both Ackermann and Kriel had good outings, as Ackermann made nine tackles and won two turnovers, while Kriel was effective with ball in hand, making 35 metres from seven carries.
– Connacht boosted their hopes of finishing in the top three in Conference A by handing the Ospreys a 46-5 defeat. Quinn Roux, fresh from Six Nations duty with Ireland, played 68 minutes for Connacht, making eight tackles. The Ospreys had wing Hanno Dirksen and tighthead prop Tom Botha in their starting XV.
– Benetton Treviso continued their excellent form this season by beating Edinburgh 18-10. Dewaldt Duvenage was at scrumhalf for Treviso, who had Irne Herbst at lock. Flyhalf Jaco van der Walt kicked a penalty for Edinburgh and converted their only try of the match. WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman formed part of the starting front row combination for Edinburgh.
– The Scarlets showed plenty of defensive mettle to claim a narrow 10-6 win against Munster. No 8 Uzair Cassiem was a standout player on defence for the Scarlets, making a massive total of 31 hits, while tighthead prop Werner Kruger also did his fair share with 16 tackles against the Irish side. Munster No 8 Arno Botha came close to scoring a potential winning try in the second half, but was held up over the line, while lock Jean Kleyn conceded a costly penalty that handed the Scarlets an extra three points. Jaco Taute was a second-half substitute for Munster.
– The Glasgow Warriors hit the summit of Conference A with a bonus-point 42-6 thrashing of strugglers Zebre. Former Maties and Griquas backline player Kyle Steyn showed his versatility by shifting to outside centre, but still managed to make 28 metres from three carries. Oli Kebble played just under 50 minutes for the Scotland side, who brought flyhalf Brandon Thomson off the bench. Francois Brummer was at fullback for Zebre and converted the Italians’ only try.
– The Cardiff Blues were worked hard in their 26-19 win against the Kings. George Earle was at lock for the Blues, but had a quiet game before being replaced in the 43rd minute.
– Ulster dug deep as they battled the weather and a late comeback to beat the Dragons 28-15. Fullback Louis Ludik was one of three Ulster players yellow-carded. He gave the Irish team a nervous finish when he was sent to the sin bin in the last couple of minutes for an intentional knock-down on wing Robert Lyttle. Hooker Rob Herring and replacement tighthead Weihahn Herbst were also in action for Ulster. Jarryd Sage was at inside centre for the Dragons, while loosehead prop Brok Harris made 26 tackles in the 77 minutes he was involved.
– Pau, with Lourens Adriaanse at tighthead prop, outscored Agen three tries to one to secure a 27-17 win. Replacement scrumhalf Ricky Januarie played for Agen from the 55th minute.
– Lock Francois Uys was in the Grenoble side that suffered a 52-17 defeat against title contenders Clermont. Clermont, who scored seven tries, used lock Jaco van Tonder from the 54th minute. Clermont are still second in the standings, six points behind Toulouse.
– Bismarck du Plessis, Frans Steyn and Henry Immelman scored a try each as Montpellier beat Bordeaux 37-10 to return to winning ways. Locks Jacques du Plessis and Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg started alongside their compatriots for Montpellier, while Jan Serfontein played off the bench as Steyn’s replacement.
– Toulon’s resurgence continued with a 24-11 victory over Perpignan. Former Springbok JP Pietersen came on at fullback for Toulon at the start of the second half. Prop Gert Muller were on duty for bottom-feeders Perpignan.
– Toulouse easily dispatched hosts Stade Français 28-9 in Paris. Toulouse fullback Cheslin Kolbe won his personal battle with ex-Springbok Morné Steyn, who played No 15 for Stade. Prop Maks van Dyk and flank Rynhardt Elstadt featured alongside Kolbe for the log leaders, but Elstadt was yellow-carded in the 27th minute for foul play. Scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, No 8 Willem Alberts and flank Hendré Stassen turned out for Stade.
– Scrumhalf Rory Kockott marked his return to Castres’ starting lineup with a crucial 13-point contribution to their 23-15 win against Lyon. He kicked two conversions and three penalties. Prop Dan Kötze, fullback Scott Spedding and centre Robert Ebersohn also featured for Castres, who are up to fifth on the log. Locks Hendrik Roodt and Francois van der Merwe, and No 8 Deon Fourie represented Lyon, who remain third despite the loss.
MAJOR RUGBY LEAGUE
– Ayron Schramm and his Houston SaberCats slumped to a 35-8 defeat at the hands of Rugby United New York. Houston are eighth (second last) on the log and New York are fifth.
– The Glendale Raptors, with scrumhalf Carlo de Nysschen, inside centre Robbie Petzer and fullback Chad London in the ranks, humiliated the Toronto Arrows 22-0 in a match that was played in the snow. Petzer kicked at goal for the Raptors, but after missing his first three attempts, De Nysschen took over the kicking duties and succeeded with one conversion. The Raptors leapfrogged Toronto to fourth place on the table.
Pretty sure BOTH teams should get a bonus point for playing through the snow and cold in this one!
5 minutes left in #rugbysnowbowl
— Glendale Raptors (@glendaleraptors) March 3, 2019
– Wing Tristan Blewitt and fullback JP Eloff started for the New Orleans Gold in their thrilling 21-19 match against the Utah Warriors in another snow-affected game. Eloff skewed all three his conversion attempts, but succeeded with two crucial penalties to lift his team past the Warriors. Prop Franco van den Berg started for the Warriors and powered over for a try in the 24th minute. New Orleans lead the way at the top of the log, while the Warriors are languishing in seventh place.
Make that three for Gold’s Feakes. Try time at the death.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) March 3, 2019
Compiled by Dylan Jack and Mariette Adams
Photo: Alexandre Dimou/Getty Images