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.
– Kyle Steyn starred for the Glasgow Warriors as they hammered Ulster 50-20 in their semi-final. Steyn crossed in the second-half for one of Glasgow’s seven tries, while also making a massive 108m from 10 carries with ball in hand. South African-born Canadian wing DTH van der Merwe made his return to the Warriors starting lineup, but could not get on the scoresheet. Despite the loss, both Marcell Coetzee and Louis Ludick played well for Ulster, with Coetzee scoring a try in the 60th minute to go with his 15 carries and 15 tackles. Rob Herring added a try off the bench for Ulster. Loosehead prop Oli Kebble came on as a replacement for the Warriors in the second half.
– Leinster secured their place in the Pro14 final by overcoming a determined Munster 24-9 in Dublin. Arno Botha, CJ Stander and Jean Kleyn were all in the Munster forward pack. Stander was the standout of the trio, making 16 carries and 10 tackles.
– The Ospreys secured their place in the Champions Cup by claiming a 21-10 victory over the Scarlets in their playoff. Ospreys wing Hanno Dirksen was an early replacement for the injured Keelan Giles in the first half, and had a mixed game, being shown a yellow card in the 33rd minute, but scoring the decisive try with 10 minutes to go in the match. Tighthead props Tom Botha and Werner Kruger started for the Ospreys and Scarlets respectively. Uzair Cassiem and lock David Bulbring came off the bench for the Scarlets.
– Cobus Reinach scored a crucial try to help the Northampton Saints grab a losing bonus point and secure fourth place despite their 40-21 loss to the Exeter Chiefs, who finished first on the table. Reinach latched on to a pass from Chiefs scrumhalf Nic White and raced away from inside his own 22 for his 12th try of the season. Don Armand started at flank for the Chiefs and scored one of their six tries. Frans van Wyk was at loosehead prop for the Saints.
HOW, how does king @c_reinach do it 🤷♂️❓❓
We’ve learnt 2️⃣ things about @SaintsRugby‘s turbo-charged nine 🔥
1. He has a sixth sense for an interception 🧘♂️
2. He’s very VERY fast 💨💨💨
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) May 19, 2019
– Jacques van Rooyen made himself an unlikely hero for Bath as he scored the winning try in their comeback 32-31 victory over the Leicester Tigers. In his final performance for Bath, Van Rooyen drove over the line in the 77th minute to give his side the victory, which allowed them to finish sixth overall on the table. Francois Louw was also in action for Bath, making 10 tackles and winning a turnover. Clayton Blommetjies, on loan to the Leicester Tigers from the Scarlets, dotted down for their only try of the second half.
– Faf de Klerk starred for the Sale Sharks as they beat Gloucester 46-41 in a final round thriller in Manchester. The Springbok scrumhalf was heavily involved in the hosts’ attack, setting up three of their tries to end the match with 101m run from 10 carries, as well as a turnover. Captain Jono Ross and replacement flank Josh Strauss were also in action for the Sharks, who missed out on a place in the playoffs. Gloucester, who had already sealed third place going into the match, were missing a number of their first-choice players including Franco Marais, Franco Mostert and Jaco Kriel, but did have lock Gerbrandt Grobler in the starting lineup. Academy graduate Dom Coetzer, who will be leaving Gloucester at the end of the season, scored a second-half try for the visitors.
– Willie le Roux made his final bow for Wasps in their 27-25 victory over Harlequins. Le Roux, who will be joining Toyota Verblitz in Japan, ran a total of 71 metres while also making 15 passes. He was joined in the starting lineup by No 8 Nizaam Carr, while Juan de Jongh and Ashley Johnson were second-half replacements.
– Wynand Olivier ended his rugby career on a high by helping the Worcester Warriors beat defending champions Saracens 31-29. The former Springbok centre, who announced he would retire at the end of the season, started for the Warriors alongside scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, tighthead prop Nic Schonert, lock Anton Bresler, flank Cornell du Preez and No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze. Saracens, who finished second on the table, had Schalk Burger in their starting XV.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Castres, featuring Rory Kockott, Rob Ebersohn and Dan Kötze, edged Agen 17-10 to enhance their chances of reaching the knockout stage. Former Springbok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie played for Agen.
– Montpellier claimed a crucial 42-25 bonus-point victory over coach Heyneke Meyer’s Stade Français, who are now out of contention for a playoff berth. Fullback Henry Immelman and hooker Bismarck du Plessis crossed for one try each and played alongside centre Jan Serfontein, locks Paul Willemse and Jacques du Plessis, and No 8 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg for the winners. Flank Hendré Stassen and fullback Morné Steyn did service for Stade.
– Pau secured a 22-0 victory over Grenoble to ensure that they stay in the competition next season. Tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse started for the winning team. Grenoble had lock Francois Uys, wing Raymond Rhule and loosehead prop Jaco Janse van Rensburg in their side.
– Racing 92 ran in eight tries to demolish a 14-man Perpignan side 52-14. Lock Johannes van Heerden represented the relegation-bound Perpignan, while No 8 Antonie Claassen started the fourth-placed Racing.
– In what could arguably be rated as game of the weekend across all competitions in Europe, Bordeaux surrendered a 36-10 half-time lead as Toulouse fought back in the second half to secure a stunning 43-36 triumph. Prop Maks van Dyk, flank Rynhardt Elstadt and fullback Cheslin Kolbe turned out for the top-ranked Toulouse, who’ve already sealed a home semi-final, with one round of regular season fixtures remaining.
– Lyon booked their spot in the playoffs with a stunning 29-19 triumph over La Rochelle at home. Flank Deon Fourie and locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen were on duty for Lyon. Flank Wiaan Liebenberg was used as a substitute by La Rochelle, who are level on points with Montpellier, but sit just outside the top six due to an inferior points difference.
– Toulon registered a shock 32-11 bonus-point win over the high-flying Clermont at the Stade Félix-Mayol. In an ill-disciplined encounter which saw the referee hand out five yellow cards and a red card, Toulon outscored their visitors four tries to one. The result, though, has no impact on either sides’ fate, as Clermont has already qualified for the semi-finals, while Toulon cannot progress into the playoffs. Springbok JP Pietersen started at fullback for Toulon and scored the opening try of the game, while locks Jaco van der Tonder and Flip van der Merwe played for Clermont.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY
– The Houston SaberCats pulled of the upset of the season when they took down title favourites the New Orleans Gold 27-20. Prop Hubert Buydens, outside centre Tristan Blewett and fullback JP Eloff turned out for Nola Gold, with Eloff contributing 10 points to their tally via two conversions and two penalties. Blewett accounted for one of their two tries.
– Hooker Stephan Coetzee and scrumhalf JP Smith bagged a brace each to inspire the Seattle Seawolves to a thrill-a-minute 53-36 victory over the Glendale Raptors. The result saw the Seawolves, who also had No 8 Riekert Hattingh in their side, end Glendale’s unbeaten streak at home this season. Scrumhalf Shaun Davies and centres Robbie Petzer and Chad London played for Glendale.
Two complete halves after early substitutions proves our depth as we end @glendaleraptors’ undefeated home streak. See you back at @StarfireSports for the home stretch! 🌊 #GLENvSEA #TogetherWeHunt #DefendTheShield pic.twitter.com/V905YVB98M
— Seattle Seawolves (@Seawolves_Rugby) May 19, 2019
– San Diego Legion outlasted the Utah Warriors to claim a 31-21 home win to consolidate their position at the top of the standings. Centre JP du Plessis knocked over four conversions and a penalty for San Diego. Loosehead prop Franco van den Berg featured in the Warriors’ run-on XV.
– Rugby United New York inflicted a 27-7 defeat on Austin Elite in a one-sided clash in Brooklyn. The visitors, with hooker Tiaan Erasmus, lock Kyle Breytenbach, flank Rikus Swart and fullback Zinzan Elan-Puttick, remain the only winless team in the competition.
Photo: Pascal Guyot/Getty Images