• Brits try saves Sarries

    SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches, involving South African players.

    ENGLISH PREMIERSHIP

    – Bath let slip a 13-0 half-time lead as Saracens, featuring centre Brad Barritt, hooker Schalk Brits and prop Petrus du Plessis, fought back to win 19-13 at Allianz Park. The hosts slotted two second-half penalties, before Brits scored an incredible converted try in the 70th minute to level matters and two late penalty goals secured the win. Bok flank Francois Louw started for Bath, who remain in ninth place.

    – In-form Wasps claimed an impressive 24-11 win against the Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens. Lock Victor Matfield earned a starting berth for the Saints, while hooker Ashley Johnson was on Wasps' bench. The result saw Wasps move above the Saints to fifth spot on the log.

    – Tighthead prop Brian Mujati and the Sale Sharks claimed a 38-10 bonus-point win over London Irish at the AJ Bell Stadium. After falling behind in the second minute, Mujati opened Sale's account with a fourth-minute try and the hosts never relinquished that lead. Sale are now seventh on the log, while the Exiles are rooted to the bottom.

    – A last-gasp conversion saw the Leicester Tigers snatch a dramatic 19-18 victory away from home against Gloucester. The Tigers, who had lock Sebastian de Chaves in their ranks, moved to third in the standings and Gloucester dropped to eighth.

    – The struggling Newcastle Falcons clinched a stunning 26-19 triumph against title contenders Harlequins. Lock Mouritz Botha played for the winning team, while flyhalf Tim Swiel was on duty for Quins, whose loss relegated them to fourth.

    – The Exeter Chiefs defeated the Worcester Warriors 30-13 at Sixways Stadium. Centre Wynand Olivier, No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze and prop Nic Schonert were in the Warriors' run-on lineup, but it was flank Don Armand who scored the Chiefs' fourth try to secure the bonus point.

    FRENCH TOP 14

    –  Brive, with locks Wilhelm Steenkamp and Johan Snyman in their ranks, beat La Rochelle 28-6 to move to fifth on the standings. Former Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie was benched by La Rochelle, but came on in the 54th minute for the 10th-ranked side.

    – Montpellier sprung a big surprise when they beat hosts Clermont 19-15 at the Stade Marcel-Michelin. Hooker Bismarck du Plessis, lock Paul Willemse, flank Wiaan Liebenberg and centre Robert Ebersohn started for Montpellier, while flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis and prop Jannie du Plessis were used as impact players. Bismarck was yellow-carded in the 64th minute and Catrakilis slotted a vital drop goal four minutes later. Fullback Scott Spedding, lock Flip van der Merwe, prop Dan Kotzé and hooker Marius van der Westhuizen were all on duty for Clermont.

    – Grenoble edged Agen 33-27 in a match where both sides were reduced to 14 men via a red card. Backs Johann Sadie and Burton Francis starred for Agen, with the former scoring a double and the latter adding a conversion and five penalties. Forwards Marco Kotzé and Ruaan du Preez also turned out for Agen, while prop Rossouw de Klerk, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and fullback Gio Aplon did service for the winners.

    – Racing hammered Oyonnax 26-3 in Paris to consolidate their place at the top of the log. Fullback Johan Goosen was responsible for the cross-kick that led to Racing's third try, while Francois van der Merwe started in the second row. Hooker Jody Jenneker and flank Pedrie Wannenburg represented Oyonnax, who are languishing in 13th place.

    – Castres returned to form in the league with a hard-fought 19-9 defeat of Bordeaux. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott featured prominently for Castres, while lock Jandré Marais and No 9 Heini Adams were in action for Bordeaux.

    – Toulouse thumped Pau 54-3 in an eight-try rout. There were no South Africans in the starting lineups, but lock Claude Dry made an appearance for Pau from the 49th minute. Toulouse are level on points with Racing, but are ranked second because they have won a game less than the log leaders.

    – Stade Français's struggles in the league continued when they suffered a 23-16 defeat to Toulon. Flyhalf Morné Steyn was in top form for the defending champions, accounting for all their points via a self-converted try and three penalties, but his best efforts weren't enough to hand them a win. Boks Duane Vermeulen and Bryan Habana retained their places in Toulon's run-on XV, with the latter crossing for a crucial try in the 12th minute. Loosehead prop Heinke van der Merwe, hooker Craig Burden and flank Jono Ross played with Steyn for Stade.

    CELTIC PRO12

    – Centre JJ Engelbrecht made his debut for the Ospreys in their 20-20 draw with No 8 Josh Strauss's Glasgow Warriors at the Liberty Stadium. Lock Rynier Bernardo played alongside Engelbrecht for the hosts. Both sides scored two converted tries and slotted as many penalty goals.

    – In a closely contested affair, the Newport Gwent Dragons reigned supreme with a 23-13 win over Leinster. Dragons fullback Carl Meyer got the better of direct opponent Zane Kirchner, while scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, lock Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris also featured for the winners. Hooker Richardt Strauss played alongside Kirchner for Leinster.

    – Connacht produced a big upset when they downed log leaders the Scarlets 30-17 at the Sportsground. Winger Danie Poolman started for the winners, while another paceman DTH van der Merwe scored for the Scarlets. Both teams are now level on 40 log points, but the Scarlets remain top because they have nine wins, while Connacht only have eight.

    – Munster kept their title ambitions alive with a 16-12 win over Zebre in Italy. Fullback Kayle van Zyl, No 8 Jean Cook, flank Johan Meyer and lock Gideon Koegenlenberg all represented Zebre, while utility back Ulrich Beyers warmed the bench. Wing Gerhard van den Heever completed Munster's match 23.

    – The Cardiff Blues claimed the big scalp of Edinburgh when they won 10-3 at the Arms Park. Centre Andries Strauss was handed a rare start by Edinburgh, who had lost several key players to the Scottish national side in the build-up to the Six Nations. No 8 Cornell du Preez was another starter for the fourth-placed Scottish club.

    – Ulster eased to a 32-12 triumph over Treviso at Stadio Monigo. Fullback Louis Ludik, lock Franco van der Merwe and hooker Rob Herring turned out for Ulster, who rose to fifth, while eighthman Braam Steyn was on duty for 12th-ranked Treviso.

    Compiled by Mariette Adams

    Photo: Tony Marshall/Getty Images

    Post by

    Mariette Adams