SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership and Pro14 final as well as the French Top 14 semi-finals involving South African players.
ENGLISH PREMIERSHIP FINAL
– Saracens beat the Exeter Chiefs 27-10 at Twickenham to claim their fourth English Premiership title. Centre Brad Barritt and prop Vincent Koch started for Sarries, while Schalk Brits and Michael Rhodes featured off the bench in the second half. Brits, playing in his last-ever professional game, was yellow-carded soon after coming on for deliberately collapsing a maul. Flank Don Armand captained the Chiefs.
Hear what Sarries legend @SchalkBrits after playing his final game for the club… And what a way to end such a glittering career! We love you Schalla! 🔴⚫ Stay tuned for a lot more on the whistle reaction here and on https://t.co/1OVRodwOBm! pic.twitter.com/ewrUvwZhO5
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) May 26, 2018
Post-match, referee Wayne Barnes apologised to Brits for issuing him with a card in his last game by giving him a hug and a hand-written note on the card.
– The Scarlets, with former Bulls duo Werner Kruger and David Bulbring in their ranks, relinquished their title to Leinster following a 40-32 loss in the final. Kruger scored one of the Scarlets’ four tries.
FRENCH TOP SEMI-FINALS
– Frans Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Paul Willemse, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis were in Montpellier’s starting lineup during their 40-14 semi-final win against Lyon, while utility back Henry Immelman was on the bench. Willemse scored a try, but it was the boot of Pienaar that made all the difference. He kicked four conversions and three penalties for a 17-point haul. Steyn also contributed a long-range penalty to Montpellier’s winning tally. Locks Hendrik Roodt, Etienne Oosthuizen and Francois van der Merwe all turned out for Lyon.
– Scrumhalf Rory Kockott and prop Dan Kötze and their Castres teammates caused a stunning upset when they beat Racing 19-14 in the second semi-final. Racing 92 had Bernard le Roux at No 5 lock and loose forward Antonie Claassen on the bench.