SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Pro14 and French Top 14 matches involving South African players.
– Juan de Jongh was among the try-scorers as Wasps arrested a run of three Premiership losses by beating the Northampton Saints 27-16 in Coventry. De Jongh crossed for his sixth try of the season when he chipped the ball ahead and regathered to score. The centre also made a total of 73m from 12 runs and three clean breaks in the match. Fullback Willie le Roux also dotted down for Wasps in controversial circumstances (watch video below). No 8 Nizaam Carr played 76 minutes for the hosts and made a total of 13 tackles. Cobus Reinach continued his good form for the Saints by setting up their only try of the match. Loosehead prop Francois van Wyk started for the visitors, who had experienced flank Heinrich Brüssow on the bench.
– The Worcester Warriors claimed a dramatic 21-19 victory over Bath with a winning try after 18 minutes of stoppage time. Francois Venter, Francois Hougaard, Nic Schonert, Anton Bresler and captain Gerrit-Janse van Velze all started for the Warriors. Venter ran 63m with ball in hand and set up their first try in the second half. Bath had Jacques van Rooyen at loosehead prop, while Springbok Francois Louw made one turnover in the match.
– Harlequins stayed in third place on the Premiership table thanks to a 38-17 bonus-point win over the Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park. Hooker Kyle Cooper started for the Falcons, who remain bottom of the log. Flyhalf Tim Swiel got 24 minutes off the bench for the Falcons, but could not change the game for his side. South African-born Namibian international Renaldo Botha came off the bench for Quins.
– The Leicester Tigers kept their hopes of semi-final qualification alive by handing Gloucester a 34-16 defeat, their fifth of the season. Hooker Jaco Visagie and second-row pair Gerbrandt Grobler and Franco Mostert all started for Johan Ackermann‘s side, who sit fourth on the Premiership table.
– Saracens fell below the Exeter Chiefs (who claimed a 14-9 win over the Bristol Bears) after losing 24-18 to the Sale Sharks. Flyhalf Robert du Preez slotted 14 points with the boot for the Sharks to keep Steve Diamond’s men unbeaten in five games. Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, flank Jono Ross and No 8 Josh Strauss all started for the Sharks. Tighthead prop Vincent Koch and veteran flank Schalk Burger both started for Saracens.
– Benetton Treviso produced one of the results of the weekend by stunning the Glasgow Warriors with a 20-17 win. South African-born Italy No 8 Braam Steyn went over in the second half for what turned out to be a winning try for the home side. Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage, who made 12 tackles, and lock Irné Herbst also did duty for Treviso, who won their fourth game on the trot. Warriors flyhalf Brandon Thomson, who was in good form earlier in the season, got just five minutes off the bench.
– The Ospreys climbed into the playoff places in Conference A thanks to a 20-11 victory over Welsh rivals the Cardiff Blues. Tighthead prop Tom Botha, who has been a mainstay in the Ospreys’ starting XV, was again part of their front row. The Blues had lock George Earle on the bench.
– Defending champions Leinster underlined their dominance of Conference B by thrashing Ulster 40-7. Tighthead prop Wiehahn Herbst went straight into Ulster’s starting XV after recovering from injury, but was substituted early in the second half.
– An injury-hit Scarlets side managed to stay with the chasing pack in Conference B with a tough 22-13 victory against the Dragons. David Bulbring was in the Scarlets’ second row, while prop Werner Kruger came off the bench early in the second half. Bok fullback Zane Kirchner started for the Dragons and made a try-saving tackle in the second half.
– Munster took advantage of Glasgow’s loss to beat Irish rivals Connacht 31-24 and go top of Conference A. No 8 Arno Botha was picked ahead of substitute CJ Stander and made 11 tackles in his 51 minutes on the field. Jean Kleyn was at lock for Johann van Graan‘s team. Quinn Roux was in Connacht’s starting second row.
– Edinburgh continued their good form into the new year by claiming a comfortable 38-0 win over the Kings. Wing Duhan van der Merwe started for Edinburgh and was a threat throughout the match, making an incredible total of 140m and setting up their first of six tries. Prop Pierre Schoeman and flyhalf Jaco van der Walt were both given around 10 minutes each from the bench.
– Zebre’s struggles this season continued as they slumped to a 27-12 loss to the Cheetahs in front of their home crowd in Parma. Hooker Luhandre Luus and fullback Francois Brummer were both substitutes for Zebre, who stay bottom of the table, six points from the next-placed Cheetahs.
– André Warner made the most of his 12 minutes off the bench as his try rounded off Stade Français’ 27-8 bonus-point victory over winless Perpignan. Warner, on loan from the Bulls, raced away in the closing stages of the match for Stade’s fourth try to see them climb above Lyon into fourth place on the table. Fellow Bulls loanees Hendré Stassen and Hanro Liebenberg also did duty for the Parisians, while Morné Steyn came off the bench to convert Warner’s try. Lock Berend Botha, prop Gert Muller and replacement lock Johannes van Heerden were in action for Perpignan.
– Castres stayed in the hunt for a quarter-final place by claiming a hard-fought 16-6 win over Grenoble. Centre Robert Ebersohn started for Castres, who had hooker Jody Jenneker and prop Daniel Kotze on the bench. Loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg started for Grenoble.
– Lyon closed in on third place with by beating Montpellier 25-14 away from home. Jan Serfontein rounded off a fine team try for Montpellier, but it was not enough to win the match. The fifth-placed Lyon had Hendrik Roodt in their second row and brought on experienced lock Francois van der Merwe and prop Albertus Buckle. Fullback Frans Steyn, flyhalf Johan Goosen, No 8 Jacques du Plessis and locks Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and Paul Willemse all played for Montpellier.
– Lourens Adriaanse was among the try-scorers as mid-table team Pau thrashed a 14-man Bordeaux-Begles 40-23. Adriaanse, starting at tighthead prop for the hosts, drove over the line for their second try of the match.
– Toulouse ended the weekend in second place thanks to a 27-20 victory against Agen. Flank Rhynardt Elstadt crossed in the first half for one of Toulouse’s four tries. Veteran scrumhalf Ricky Januarie made a rare start for Agen, who brought centre Johann Sadie off the bench.
– Racing 92 stayed in sixth position by beating Toulon 22-13. South African-born France Test duo Antonie Claassen and Bernard le Roux were both in Racing’s starting lineup. Juandré Kruger was at lock while JP Pietersen kept his place at fullback for Toulon. Prop Marcel van der Merwe was a substitute for the visitors, who lost their fifth game of the season.
– Clermont remained in top spot and showed their title credentials by hammering La Rochelle 44-19. Flank Wiaan Liebenberg started for La Rochelle, but was one of three players yellow-carded after he was sent to the sin bin in the first half for a high tackle. La Rochelle are in third place, seven points behind Toulouse.
Compiled by Dylan Jack