SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Pro14, Premiership Cup and French Top 14 matches involving South African players.
– Werner Kruger scored one of the Scarlets’ four second-half tries to help them come from behind to beat the Kings 41-24 in Port Elizabeth. Fullback Clayton Blommetjies, No 8 Uzair Cassiem and lock David Bulbring also started for a largely second-string Scarlets side, which was missing 20 players through injury and international call-ups.
– Zebre stayed with the chasing pack in Conference A with a comeback 34-16 victory against Edinburgh. Francois Brummer was at fullback for the Italian side, while flank Johan Meyer enjoyed another busy performance, making 15 tackles in the match. Duhan van der Merwe started for Edinburgh, along with prop Pierre Schoeman. Hooker Luhandre Luus was an unused substitute for Zebre.
– Ulster put a three-game losing streak behind them by beating the Dragons 36-18. No 8 Marcell Coetzee made a total of 34m from 12 carries for Ulster, who brought hooker Rob Herring off the bench. Centre Jarryd Sage continued his fine form by dotting down in the first half for the Dragons. Prop Brok Harris was also in action for the losing side, who brought Zane Kirchner off the bench just after half-time.
– The Ospreys stayed in touch with Conference A leaders Glasgow by sneaking a 22-17 win against Connacht. Wing Hanno Dirksen and tighthead prop Tom Botha played for the Ospreys, while Connacht had lock Quinn Roux in their starting XV.
– Leinster stretched their lead at the top of Conference B by overpowering Treviso in a 31-3 victory. Dewaldt Duvenage, who struggled behind a pack that was going backwards, and lock Irné Herbst both started for Treviso.
– Munster stunned Conference A leaders the Glasgow Warriors with a last-minute 25-24 win. Chris Cloete started at flank for Munster, alongside No 8 CJ Stander, with lock Jean Kleyn also in the starting lineup. Arno Botha replaced Cloete, who was yellow-carded in the second half, for the final 20 minutes and made 53m for the home side. Glasgow had two South African props in loosehead Oli Kebble and replacement tighthead Petrus du Plessis in action, while flyhalf Brandon Thomson kicked a conversion after coming off the bench in the second half.
– The Cheetahs finally opened their account in Conference A by beating the Cardiff Blues 21-10 for their first win of the season. Lock George Earle played for the Blues.
– The Worcester Warriors kicked off the inaugural cup weekend by beating the Sale Sharks 35-3. Francois Hougaard and Francois Venter both scored close-range tries in the first half for a largely first-choice Worcester side, which featured Anton Bresler at lock and was captained by Gerrit-Jan van Velze. Veteran centre Wynand Olivier was an unused substitute for the Warriors.
– The Newcastle Falcons were held to a 22-22 draw by the Exeter Chiefs. Lock Wilhelm van der Sluys started for the Chiefs, who came back from a five-point half-time deficit to level the scores. Flyhalf Tim Swiel came off the bench for Newcastle.
– Schalk Burger was among the try-scorers as Saracens opened their cup campaign with a 29-21 win against the Leicester Tigers. Burger got the home side off to a flying start by going over from the back of a maul in the seventh minute.
– Gloucester thrashed Wasps 31-7, with both teams dominated by academy players. Young centre Dom Coetzer scored one of Gloucester’s five tries. The 20-year-old, who was once part of the Western Province Rugby Institute, collected a kick over the Wasps defence and slid over to help the home side open up a 24-point lead.
– Demetri Catrikilis kicked 14 points as Harlequins held out against Bath for a 27-19 win. Catrakilis, who has largely had to play as a reserve to England wonderkid Marcus Smith, showed his composure to slot four penalties and a conversion to help his side to an opening win.
– The Northampton Saints started their campaign with a 51-24 demolition of the Bristol Bears. Prop Francois van Wyk grabbed a brace, his first two tries for the Saints, in a dominant performance from the hosts.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Agen, with Johann Sadie in their ranks, played to a 9-9 draw with Grenoble at home. Wing Raymond Rhule, lock Francois Uys and JC Janse van Rensburg were on duty for Grenoble.
– Heyneke Meyer’s Stade Français scored a try in the 76th minute to down Montpellier 25-20 in Paris. Morné Steyn, Piet van Zyl and Heinke van der Merwe, who all played for the Springboks under Meyer, were starters for Stade. Steyn kicked two penalties and two conversions. Montpellier started with flank Wiaan Liebenberg, lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and prop Jannie du Plessis. Ruan Pienaar and Jan Serfontein were benched for this match.
– Castres, featuring fullback Scott Spedding, centre Robert Ebersohn, scrumhalf Rory Kockott, tighthead prop Dan Kötze and hooker Jody Jenneker, slumped to a humiliating 41-6 defeat against table-toppers Clermont. Kockott converted both of Castres’ penalties.
– Prop Lourens Adriaanse was used off the bench by Pau in their 48-28 loss to Racing 92 in Paris. Pau remain in 10th position on the log.
– Toulouse claimed a convincing 36-18 triumph over hosts Perpignan. Ex-Stormers pair Cheslin Kolbe and Rynhardt Elstadt started for Toulouse, but enjoyed different fortunes on the individual front. Kolbe scored one of five tries, while Elstadt was yellow-carded in the 17th minute. Prop Maks van Dyk was on the bench for Toulouse, while lock Bêrend Botha was in Perpignan’s run-on XV.
– Locks Hendrik Roodt and Francois van der Merwe were part of the Lyon team that suffered a 35-13 defeat against Bordeaux at the Stade Chaban-Delmas. Lyon are now in sixth position on the log, one point behind their conquerors.
– Toulon are in second-last place in the standings after slumping to yet another defeat, this time a 13-9 loss against La Rochelle. Prop Marcel van der Merwe and lock Juandré Kruger played for Toulon.
Compiled by Dylan Jack & Mariette Adams
Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images