SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Premiership, Top 14, Pro14 and Major League Rugby matches involving South African players.
– Gloucester continued their upward trend as they beat defending champions Saracens 30-24. Hooker Franco Marais, lock Franco Mostert and loose forwards Ruan Ackermann and Jaco Kriel were all part of the Gloucester starting pack. Ackermann and Mostert both played the full 80 minutes, with Ackermann making 25m from 10 carries and Mostert putting in 14 tackles on defence. Michael Rhodes got on the scoreboard for Saracens with a try in the 60th minute, while captain Brad Barritt, tighthead prop Vincent Koch and veteran flank Schalk Burger also did duty for the Londoners.
– Faf de Klerk was in form with the kicking tee to help the Sale Sharks recover from their heavy loss to the Northampton Saints by claiming a 24-18 victory over Wasps. De Klerk played a role in all three of Sale’s tries and slotted two conversions and a penalty in the first half. Sale centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg made 29m with ball in hand, while captain Jono Ross made 12 tackles. Wasps flank and captain Ashley Johnson scored one of their two tries. Fullback Willie le Roux, who had a forgettable day on defence, centre Juan de Jongh and flank Nizaam Carr, who was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle, were in action for Wasps.
– The Exeter Chiefs went back to the top of the table with a comfortable 35-17 win against the Newcastle Falcons. Don Armand started for the Chiefs, while flyhalf Tim Swiel came off the bench for the Falcons.
– The Northampton Saints needed a try after the hooter from lock Dave Ribbans to claim a 27-26 comeback victory over Bath. Francois Louw made two turnovers and 18 tackles at flank for Bath. Northampton and Bath brought props Francois van Wyk and Jacques van Rooyen off the bench.
– Francois Hougaard scored a crucial try as the Worcester Warriors closed in on the Leicester Tigers on the table with a 17-13 win over their opponents. Hougaard scored one of the Warriors’ two second-half tries as they came back from a 10-3 half-time deficit. Francois Venter ran 54m and made a turnover for the Warriors, who also had tighthead prop Nic Schonert and lock Anton Bresler in their starting lineup.
– The Glasgow Warriors scored six tries to run out 43-17 victors against Connacht. Glasgow flyhalf Brandon Thomson converted five of their tries, while also slotting a penalty for a haul of 13 points. Former Maties wing Kyle Steyn made 65m with ball in hand, the second-most running metres for the Warriors, who had Oli Kebble at loosehead prop.
– Conference A leaders Munster withstood a strong effort from the Ospreys to win 19-13 in Swansea. Hanno Dirksen scored the Ospreys’ only try of the match in the first half. Jaco Taute was at inside centre for Munster, but was replaced nine minutes into the second half. Both flank Chris Cloete and No 8 Arno Botha put in strong performances in the Munster loose trio. Tom Botha was at tighthead prop for the Ospreys.
– Benetton Treviso continued their superb form this season by hammering the visiting Dragons 57-7. Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage made 36m for Treviso, who had Irné Herbst at lock. The Dragons had Zane Kirchner at fullback and Brok Harris, who put in a total of 20 tackles, at loosehead prop.
– The Cardiff Blues stunned Edinburgh by coming back from a 14-point deficit for a 19-17 away win. Cardiff had George Earle at lock, while Edinburgh had wing Duhan van der Merwe, flyhalf Jaco van der Walt and loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman in their starting lineup.
– Cape Town-born Ireland hooker Rob Herring put in a standout performance by scoring a first-half hat-trick to help Ulster thrash Zebre 54-7. Former Sharks and Lions fullback Louis Ludik returned from a first-half yellow card for a deliberate knock-down to add to Ulster’s lead with a try in the second half. Francois Brummer was at fullback for Zebre, who brought hooker Luhandre Luus off the bench.
– The Scarlets continued their push for a place in the playoffs by beating the Cheetahs 43-21. Uzair Cassiem gave the Scarlets the perfect start with a third-minute try against his former side, while Werner Kruger put in a solid shift at the scrum before being substituted with 10 minutes to go.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie started for Agen in their 20-13 win against hosts Perpignan. Lock Bêrend Botha and prop Gert Muller featured off the bench for bottom-feeders Perpignan.
– Toulouse cruised to a 27-14 victory against Montpellier. Fullback Cheslin Kolbe and prop Maks van Dyk were on duty for Toulouse, who are now top of the log. Montpellier started with fullback Frans Steyn, wing Henry Immelman, centre Jan Serfontein, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and No 8 Jacques du Plessis, who crossed for their only try of the match. Lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and prop Jannie du Plessis were used as impact players.
– In an 11-try thriller, Bordeaux outlasted Grenoble to secure a 47-31 win at home. Loosehead prop Jacobie Janse van Rensburg and wing Raymond Rhule earned starts for Grenoble, who are second last on the log.
– Following club president Mourad Boudjellal’s verbal assault on his players, Toulon stepped up and hammered Pau 38-11 at the Stade Mayol to move up to 10th on the table. Prop Lourens Adriaanse played for Pau, but was subbed in the 53rd minute.
– Stade Français caused a big upset when they beat La Rochelle 27-14. Flank Wiaan Liebenberg and centre Paul Jordaan represented La Rochelle. Loose forwards Hendré Stassen and Willem Alberts, scrumhalf Piet van Zyl and fullback Morné Steyn were starters for Stade, with Stassen and Van Zyl each scoring a try. Stade, coached by Heyneke Meyer, climbed to sixth on the log.
– Captain Robert Ebersohn led Castres to a stunning 18-9 triumph over Racing. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott joined Ebersohn in the run-on XV. Eighthman Antonie Claassen did service for Racing, who have been usurped by Castres in seventh spot.
– Lyon, with No 8 Deon Fourie, and locks Hendrik Roodt and Francois van der Merwe in their ranks, shocked Clermont 19-13 at home. Clermont had Jaco van Tonder in their second row. Despite the defeat, Clermont remain second, four points clear of their conquerors Lyon.
AMERICAN MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY
– No 8 Aaron Schramm was in the Houston SaberCats side that went down 44-27. Houston are now eighth on the log, while Toronto move up to fourth.
– The San Diego Legion, featuring hooker Dean Muir, flyhalf Joe Pietersen and centre JP du Plessis, thrashed the Austin Elite 45-17. Du Plessis and Muir scored a try each, while Pietersen kicked five conversions. Loose forwards Rikus Zwart, Dylan Pieterse and Kyle Breytenbach, hooker Tiaan Erasmus and prop Brendan Rams turned out for last-ranked Austin.
– The Glendale Raptors and Utah Warriors played out to the first-ever draw in the competition when their match ended 26-26. Loosehead prop Franco van den Berg started for Utah. Glendale had scrumhalf Carlo de Nysschen and centre Robbie Petzer in their midst. Petzer kicked two conversions.
– Hooker Stephan Coetzee scored one of five tries to guide the Seattle Seawolves to a 33-21 away win over United New York. Coetzee was joined in the Seattle’s lineup by scrumhalf JP Smith. Seattle are third on the log and New York sixth.
Photo: Henry Browne/Getty Images