SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Pro14, Top 14, Premiership Cup and Major League Rugby matches involving South African players.
– The Glasgow Warriors stayed in second place in Conference A thanks to a 9-3 victory against the Ospreys. Brandon Thomson showed his composure by slotting three penalties for the Warriors, who are just two points off conference leaders Munster. The Ospreys had wing Hanno Dirksen, centre Johnny Kotze and tighthead prop Tom Botha in their starting lineup.
– Leinster stayed on top of Conference B by claiming a 22-17 win over the Scarlets. Lock David Bulbring started for the Scarlets, but left the field injured after just four minutes. Tighthead prop Werner Kruger was also in the Scarlets starting XV.
– Wing Louis Ludik and hooker Rob Herring both got on the scoresheet as Ulster rescued a 17-17 draw against Benetton Treviso. Ludik touched down within the first minute of the match to get Ulster off to a flying start, with Herring scoring from a driving maul in the second half. Dewaldt Duvenage was at scrumhalf for Treviso, while lock Irné Herbst made a total of 20 tackles in his 55 minutes for the Italians. Wiehahn Herbst was an unused substitute for Ulster.
– Jean Kleyn scored Munster’s only try as they claimed a crucial 8-7 win against the Dragons in a match affected by wet weather and swirling winds. Kleyn bashed his way over the line just after the hour mark after the Dragons had held a seven-point lead for much of the contest. Munster No 8 Arno Botha made 44m with ball in hand, while Jaco Taute closed the game out from the bench. Zane Kirchner was on the bench for the Dragons, but got no game time.
– The Cheetahs put in a brilliant attacking display to thrash Zebre 61-28 in Bloemfontein. Flank Johan Meyer continued his good form for the struggling Italian outfit by scoring one of their four tries. Francois Brummer was at fullback for Zebre, who had Luhandre Luus at hooker. The victory kept Zebre at the bottom of Conference A, while lifting the Cheetahs to within seven points of the third-placed Ospreys.
– The Cardiff Blues survived a late comeback from Connacht to win 8-7 in awful conditions in Wales. George Earle continued his role as the Blues’ first-choice lock.
– The Kings put in one of the performances of the weekend to stun Edinburgh with two tries in the final five minutes, helping them to a 25-21 victory in Port Elizabeth. Pierre Schoeman dominated both opposition tightheads at the scrum for Edinburgh, and flyhalf Jaco van der Walt kicked two conversions for the Scottish side.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Centre Robert Ebersohn led Castres to a shock 24-16 win over Clermont in his first game as captain. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott, who kicked a penalty, and hooker Jody Jenneker also started for the winners. Lock Flip van der Merwe played for Clermont from the start of the second half.
– Centre Johann Sadie and scrumhalf Ricky January were in the Agen side that lost 25-17 to Bordeaux Begles. Sadie was yellow-carded in the 25th minute for a cynical infringement.
– Pau, with ex-Sharks prop Lourens Adriaanse in their front row, sealed a 30-24 victory against bottom-feeders Perpignan. Lock Bêrend Botha and replacement prop Gert Muller, who had a two-minute cameo off the bench, represented Perpignan.
– Flank Wiaan Liebenberg’s new team La Rochelle beat his old team Montpellier 27-25. Bismarck du Plessis, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Jacques du Plessis, Henry Immelman, Jan Serfontein and Frans Steyn were in Montpellier’s starting lineup, while compatriot Johan Goosen was utilised from the 55th minute. Jacques du Plessis, Immelman and Serfontein scored the visitors’ three tries. La Rochelle are now third on the log and Montpellier ninth.
– Lyon stunned Racing 32-11 at home. Scrumhalf Charl McLeod, No 8 Deon Fourie and locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen were on duty for Lyon, but Oosthuizen was replaced by Francois van der Merwe in the 67th minute. Eighthman Antonie Claassen started and scored in Racing’s losing cause.
– Toulouse, with Cheslin Kolbe at fullback, claimed a 29-16 triumph over Grenoble to move to the top of the standings. Prop Maks van Dyk was a Toulouse replacement in the 56th minute. Prop Jaco Janse van Rensburg and wing Raymond Rhule did service for 12th-ranked Grenoble.
– Flank Hendré Stassen’s two-try performance for Stade Français was in vain as they slumped to a dramatic 33-30 defeat at the hands of Toulon. He was joined at Stade’s side by flank Willem Alberts, scrumhalf Piet van Zyl and lock Hanro Liebenberg. Springbok duo Juandré Kruger and Marcel van der Merwe turned out for Toulon.
– Springbok pair Heinrich Brussöw and Cobus Reinach played starring roles in the Northampton Saints’ 47-20 thrashing of the Leicester Tigers. Brussöw scored a try in the 45th minute, while Reinach’s try double came in the final 10 minutes. Prop Francois van Wyk also started for the Saints.
– Saracens hammered city rivals Harlequins 32-12 at the Stoop. Quins were at a disadvantage from the 28th minute after No 8 Renaldo Bothma was given a straight red card for foul play. Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis was a reserve for Harlequins.
– The Exeter Chiefs, with lock Wilhelm van der Sluys in their ranks, received a late penalty try as they battled to a 12-10 win against the Bristol Bears.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY
– The Nola Gold held out against competition debutants the Toronto Arrows to win 36-31 in Toronto. Pretoria-born USA flyhalf JP Eloff and former Sharks centre Tristan Blewett both scored tries for the Gold. Vince Jobo also started for them.
– The Houston Sabercats grabbed a 21-20 victory over the Austin Elite. Flanks Kyle Breytenbach and Rickus Zwart were in action for Austin.
– Rugby United New York made a successful start to their first MLR campaign by beating the San Diego Legion 25-23. Legion captain Joe Pietersen scored a self-converted try to take the Legion into a five-point lead with eight minutes remaining. Former Stormers centre JP du Plessis and hooker Dean Muir also did duty for the Legion, with Muir making his MRL debut.
– The Seattle Seawolves claimed a 20-18 win against the Glendale Raptors. Former Cheetahs, Sharks and Kings hooker Stephan Coetzee played for the Seawolves, who had flyhalf JP Smith on the bench.
Compiled by Dylan Jack & Mariette Adams