SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Pro14, French Top 14 and Japanese Top League matches involving South African players.
– The Exeter Chiefs, captained by Don Armand, maintained their perfect start to the season with a comfortable 35-18 win against the Sale Sharks. Sale had captain Jono Ross yellow-carded in the second half after a brawl following the breakdown of an Exeter maul. Josh Strauss came off the bench in the second half for Sale but was unable to impact the match.
– Bath got off the mark with a 37-32 victory over Harlequins, their first win of the season. Former Lions prop Jacques van Rooyen once again came off the bench for Bath and was busy in the final quarter of the match, making 10 tackles and winning a turnover for his side.
– Defending champions Saracens made it three from three as they survived a scare from the Northampton Saints to win 38-27. Brad Barritt again led Saracens, who also had flank Michael Rhodes and prop Vincent Koch in their starting XV. Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and flank Heinrich Brüssow both started for the Saints, with prop Francois van Wyk coming on to the field in the final quarter of the match.
– The Worcester Warriors, led by Gerrit-Jan van Velze, once again fell short of notching their first win of the season as Alan Solomons’ side lost 23-20 to the Newcastle Falcons. Former Cheetahs centre Francois Venter had a busy outing for the Warriors, making a total of 51m from 12 carries, while recently retired Springbok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard made a total of 92 passes and won two turnovers for Worcester, who brought lock Anton Bresler off the bench.
– Former Stormers and Munster lock Gerbrandt Grobler scored one of Gloucester’s five second-half tries as Johan Ackermann’s team came from behind to beat the Bristol Bears 35-13. Grobler went over from close range to score his first try in his first start for his new side. Former Sharks hooker Franco Marais also made his run-on debut for Gloucester, while No 8 Ruan Ackermann enjoyed another good performance, making 18 tackles and 63m, while also winning a turnover. Zane Kirchner made his debut at fullback from the bench for the Bears, after joining on a short-term loan from the Dragons.
– Juan de Jongh was the star performer of the weekend, as his brace of tries helped Wasps see off a determined 14-man Leicester Tigers side and claim a 41-35 win. De Jongh scored a try in each half for Wasps, who included both Nizaam Carr and Ashley Johnson in their starting loose trio.
– Duhan van der Merwe and Pierre Schoeman both scored tries to help Edinburgh claim a 17-10 victory over Connacht, their first win of the season. Van der Merwe dotted down in the first half while Schoeman, who started in a front row with countryman WP Nel, forced his way over in the second from a maul. Jaco van der Walt, a late inclusion into the starting XV, kept his cool to kick two conversions and a penalty for Edinburgh, who had prop Allan Dell among their substitutes.
– Munster scored seven tries to sweep to a 49-13 victory against the Ospreys. No 8 Arno Botha continued his strong start to the season, scoring in the second half, while flank Chris Cloete also put in a good shift for Munster. Jaco Taute came off the bench for Johan van Graan’s side as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, and lock Jean Kleyn was also part of the subs. The Ospreys had prop Tom Botha in their starting XV and brought wing Hanno Dirksen on in the second half.
– Leinster romped to a 52-10 win against the Dragons in Dublin. Prop Brock Harris was busy for the Dragons, putting in a total of 20 tackles, while wing Jarryd Sage came off the bench in the second half for the visitors.
– The Scarlets ended Treviso’s unbeaten run with a 38-29 comeback victory in Wales. Both prop Werner Kruger and lock David Bulbring were on the bench for the Scarlets. Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage started for Treviso, who also had lock Irne Herbst and flank Braam Steyn in their starting XV. Herbst was red-carded just before the half-hour mark after being adjudged to have led with the elbow at a ruck.
– Veteran wing DTH van der Merwe scored one of Edinburgh’s seven tries in their 52-24 thrashing of the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. Van der Merwe ran a total of 119m, scoring in the second half for the visitors, who had prop Oli Kebble in their lineup.
– Zebre recorded their second win of the season by beating the Cardiff Blues 26-24. Both flank Johan Meyer and flyhalf Francois Brummer, who was brought into the game just after half-time, contributed tries in Zebre’s second-half comeback. The Blues had lock George Earle in their XV.
– Marcell Coetzee continued his fine form since coming back from a knee injury putting in a man-of-the-match performance in Ulster’s 28-7 victory against the Kings in Port Elizabeth. Coetzee scored Ulster’s first try in the second half and also made a couple of key turnovers when the Irish side was under pressure. Hooker Rob Herring captained Ulster but was one of three players yellow-carded in an ill-tempered first half. Both prop Weihahn Herbst and flank Johan Deysel were brought on in the second half for the visitors.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Lyon ran eight tries past Montpellier to record a stunning 55-13 upset win. Locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen featured for the winning side and both scored a try apiece. Fullback Henry Immelman, flank Wiaan Liebenberg, locks Paul Willemse and Nicholaas Janse van Rensburg, and hooker Bismarck du Plessis started for Montpellier, while Jannie du Plessis played off the bench. Janse van Rensburg scored his side’s only try.
– Rory Kockott was in the Castres starting lineup that beat Grenoble 29-13. His compatriots Scott Spedding, Robert Ebersohn, Jody Jenneker and Dan Kötze were named on the bench.
– Clermont scored 10 points in the last four minutes of the game to clinch a dramatic 27-23 win over a brave Pau side. Tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse started for Pau and former Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe was a substitute for Clermont, the only side to have won all their games to date.
– Stade Français moved to second on the log following a comprehensive 37-10 win against a Toulon team that is horribly out of form. Morné Steyn was picked to start at flyhalf and kicked 15 points via three conversions and as many penalties. He featured alongside Piet van Zyl, Willem Alberts and Hendrik van der Merwe. Jacques Potgieter, Juandré Kruger, Marcel van der Merwe and JP Pietersen turned out for Toulon. All the South African players who featured in this match are Springboks.
– Centre Wandile Mjekevu, locks Bêrend Botha and Johann van Heerden, and prop Gert Muller formed part of the Perpignan side that slumped to a 37-10 defeat at the hands of La Rochelle. With the win, La Rochelle moved into the top half of the table. Perpignan remain rooted to the foot of the standings.
– Johann Sadie and his Agen teammates claimed a hard-earned 22-17 home win over Bordeaux. Lock Jandré Marais played for the visitors.
– Reinhardt Elstadt started at No 4 for Toulouse in their convincing 30-17 triumph over Racing 92. Toulouse are now up to fourth on the table.
JAPANESE TOP LEAGUE
– The Kobe Kobelco Steelers stunned their hosts the Suntory Sungoliath 36-20 in Tokyo. Flank Grant Hattingh played for the Steelers in the first half.
– Ex-Bulls prop John-Roy Jenkinson started for the Munakata Sanix Blues, who slumped to a 24-15 loss against the NEC Green Rockets.
– Carl Wegner, Gio Aplon and Lionel Cronjé each scored a try as the Toyota Verblitz claimed a 36-14 victory over the Hino Red Dolphins. Clinton Swart and Reniel Hugo also started for Verblitz, with Swart kicking all three of his conversion attempts before being substituted.
– Lock Robert Kruger, No 8 Willie Britz and flyhalf Garth April starred for the NTT Communications Shining Arcs in their 64-26 defeat of the Toyota Industries Shuttles. Britz scored a try and April nailed seven conversions.
– The Yamaha Jubilo, with flank Kwagga Smith, flyhalf Neil Marais and wing Gerrie Labuschagne in their ranks, beat the Honda Heat 34-16. Labuschagne crossed for a try in the first half. Flank Deon Stegmann, who started, was one of four Honda Heat players to be shown yellow cards.
– Gerhard van den Heever scored 11 points via a try and two penalties to inspire the Kubota Spears to a 14-3 triumph against the Canon Eagles. He played alongside Ruan Botha, Lappies Labuschagne and Burger Odendaal. Philip van der Walt and Fred Zeilinga were on duty for the Eagles.
– The Panasonic Wild Knights emerged 31-24 victors from their thrilling clash against the Toshiba Brave Lupus. Coenraad van Wyk started at fullback and scored one of Toshiba’s four tries, while flank Henco Venter came off the bench. Lions centre Harold Vorster was in the winning team’s starting XV.
By Mariette Adams & Dylan Jack
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images