SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Premiership, Top 14, Pro14 and Major League Rugby matches involving South African players.
– Rory Kockott kicked a penalty to help defending champions Castres beat Bordeaux 16-12 and boost their hopes of finishing in the top six. Tighthead prop Daniel Kötze and veteran hooker Jody Jenneker were in the Castres front row, while centre Robert Ebersohn led the team from midfield.
– Stade Français also stayed in the hunt for the playoffs by claiming a 25-22 win over Agen, despite losing two players to red cards. Centre Johann Sadie scored one of Agen’s three tries. Scrumhalf Piet van Zyl and flank Hendré Stassen were in action for Stade Français, who brought the experience of Morné Steyn and Willem Alberts off the bench.
– La Rochelle climbed into seventh place thanks to a 10-try, 71-21 demolition of Pau. Wiaan Liebenberg was at flank for La Rochelle, who are tied with sixth-placed Bordeaux. Tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse started for Pau, who are stuck in 11th place on the table.
– Deon Fourie was among the try-scorers as third-placed Lyon hammered Perpignan 47-9. Fourie, playing at No 8, muscled his way over the line in the first half for one of Lyon’s six tries. Lock Hendrik Roodt also started for Lyon, but was replaced in the 23rd minute by Francois van der Merwe, while prop Albertus Buckle also came off Lyon’s bench.
– Grenoble further boosted their hopes of avoiding a wooden-spoon finish by stunning 14-man Toulon with a 19-18 win. JC Janse van Rensburg and Francois Uys were in the Grenoble pack, while Marcel van der Merwe and JP Pietersen did duty for Toulon.
– Racing 92 needed a 77th-minute try to claim a thrilling 26-25 win over Montpellier. South African-born French No 8 Antonie Classen started for Racing, who remain three points off third place on the table. Jan Serfontein scored in the first half for one of Montpellier’s three tries, but the visitors were hurt by a late yellow card to lock Jacques du Plessis for repeated infringements. Bismarck du Plessis and Paul Willemse were also in action for Montpellier, who now sit in ninth position on the log, five points off the playoff places.
– League leaders Toulouse were involved in an equally heart-pounding match against second-placed Clermont, but won 47-44 with a late try. Cheslin Kolbe scored a brilliant individual try, one of Toulouse’s five in the match, to help them claim the win. Rynhardt Elstadt was on the flank for Toulouse, who brought Maks van Dyk off the bench. Jaco van Tonder was in Clermont’s second row.
– Ulster sealed second place in Conference B with a 29-7 away win over Edinburgh. No 8 Marcell Coetzee starred for the Irish side, making 26m from 13 carries and 14 tackles. Hooker Rob Herring continued his impressive form for Ulster, with the Irish international completing 19 tackles. Despite the loss, Edinburgh props Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel still managed good individual performances, with Schoeman making a total of 31m from his carries before being replaced by Allan Dell. Flyhalf Jaco van der Walt and wing Duhan van der Merwe both started for Edinburgh, who are now in fourth place with a single round left in the competition.
– The Ospreys claimed a 43-7 bonus-point victory against the Kings in Port Elizabeth. Wing Hanno Dirksen capped a fine first-half performance with a try in the 25th minute, while Tom Botha was a second-half replacement for the Ospreys.
– The Glasgow Warriors put in a resilient display which saw the Conference A leaders beat Conference B leaders Leinster 39-24 in Dublin. Warriors centre Kyle Steyn added to his growing reputation with a strong performance in midfield, making 31m and 12 tackles.
– Uzair Cassiem scored a brace to help the Scarlets claim a crucial 42-0 home win over Zebre. The No 8 scored a try in each half, making 14 carries in one of his strongest performances of the season. Werner Kruger was a second-half replacement for the Scarlets, coming on with 20 minutes to go.
— Scarlets Rugby (@scarlets_rugby) April 13, 2019
– Munster held their nerve to claim a 37-28 win over Benetton Treviso in Italy. Chris Cloete put in 10 tackles for Munster, who temporarily went top of Conference A. Treviso flank Braam Steyn put in another strong performance, making 14 carries for the Italian side, who had scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage and lock Irné Herbst in their starting lineup. Treviso currently sit third in Conference B.
– Connacht sealed their place in the playoffs by beating the Cardiff Blues 29-22, which ensured that the Irish side will end in third place in Conference A. George Earle played 50 minutes at lock for the Blues, who are in fifth position in Conference A.
– The Dragons ended their tour to South Africa winless after conceding a late flurry of tries to lose 38-13 to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. Zane Kirchner had a quiet match on the wing for the Dragons as they struggled to hold on to possession, but the Springbok still made 42m from his two carries. The Dragons remain at the bottom of Conference B by one point and will next host the Scarlets.
– Wasps shocked log-leaders the Exeter Chiefs 26-19 to record their first-ever league win at Sandy Park, with Willie le Roux and Juan de Jongh both scoring tries. Hooker Ashley Johnson and flank Nizaam Carr also featured for Wasps, while Don Armand started for Exeter.
– Saracens, with Michael Rhodes and Vincent Koch in their ranks, slipped to a humiliating 23-21 defeat to minnows the Bristol Bears. Nic Fenton-Wells came on as Bristol’s replacement hooker in the 58th minute. Sarries are now nine log points adrift of Exeter.
– Gloucester completed a stirring comeback when they beat Bath 27-23 after trailing 17-7 at the break. Hooker Franco Marais, lock Franco Mostert and loose forwards Ruan Ackermann and Jaco Kriel were on duty for Gloucester. Ackermann scored a try, Kriel made 10 tackles, but it was Mostert who was hailed for his shift that included a game-high 25 tackles and 11 carries. The trio’s former Lions teammate Jacques van Rooyen did service for Bath.
“I’m just so proud of the guts the guys showed.”
“It’s a blessing to be a part of this team!”@gloucesterrugby are within touching distance of a playoff spot…
And Johan Ackermann is beaming after that performance ? pic.twitter.com/vt8a9KYEwt
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 13, 2019
– Francois Venter, Francois Hougaard, Cornell du Preez and Anton Bresler played for the Worcester Warriors in their stunning 39-17 win against the Sale Sharks. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Faf de Klerk, Jono Ross and Josh Strauss represented Sale, but all had relatively quiet games. Sale’s chances of finishing in the top four took a big blow with this unexpected loss.
– The Northampton Saints scored a late try to secure a thrilling 20-19 victory against Harlequins at the Stoop. Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and loosehead prop Francois van Wyk were in the winners’ starting XV. The Saints are now just four points behind their victims, who occupy the last playoff spot.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY
– Flyhalf Joe Pietersen inspired the San Diego Legion to a 29-19 victory over Rugby United New York, who came into this clash as favourites because they boasted the best win-ratio in the competition. Pietersen, who scored a try and slotted a conversion, turned out alongside hooker Dean Muir and inside centre JP du Plessis.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 14, 2019
– The Seattle Seawolves thrashed hosts the Houston SaberCats 52-10 in the first-ever match at the Aveva Stadium. The one-sided result placed a dampener on the SaberCats’ celebration of their new state-of-the-art stadium. Seattle called on the services of hooker Stephan Coetzee, No 8 Riekert Hattingh and scrumhalf JP Smith, with Coetzee barging over for one of their six tries. Seattle remain second on the log, while the SaberCats are seventh.
– The Nola Gold clinched a scrappy 28-19 win against the Utah Warriors to consolidate their place at the top of the standings. Fullback JP Eloff, outside centre Tristan Blewett and Hubert Buydens were all heavily involved for Nola. Eloff top-scored with 13 points via a try and four conversions. Blewett continued his rich scoring form with another try and Buydens was yellow-carded for tackling an opponent off the ball. Loosehead prop Franco van den Berg represented the struggling Utah Warriors.
Blewett ➡️ Eloff to dive in for the try.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 13, 2019
Pick 5 from Gold’s Blewett!
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 13, 2019
Compiled by Dylan Jack & Mariette Adams