Double delight for DTH on debut looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches, involving South African players.


– Former Springbok loose forward Ashley Johnson started at hooker for Wasps in their first-round 26-21 defeat to Harlequins.

– Outside centre Wynand Olivier made a winning start to his time at the Worcester Warriors, who edged the Northampton Saints 13-12 at Sixways. Trailing by two in the final moments, a late drop goal denied Saints a victory in the first round.

– Lock Mouritz Botha's Newcastle Falcons suffered a 39-27 defeat against Gloucester. The Falcons, who were 27-3 down at the break, showed great resolve in the second half, but the deficit was just too big to overturn.

– Bath got their new campaign off to a good start, with a 19-17 victory over the Exeter Chiefs. Ex-Stormers flanker Don Armand was on duty for the Chiefs from start to finish.

– Defending champions Saracens got their season off to a flying start by beating the Sale Sharks 41-3. Former Stormers loose forward and lock Michael Rhodes made an immediate impact for his new club Sarries, scoring a try on debut. He started alongside scrumhalf Neil de Kock and prop Petrus du Plessis.

– The Leicester Tigers overcame London Irish 28-16 at the Madejski Stadium. Lock Sebastian de Chaves was a bench-warmer for the winners.


– Defending champions Stade Français downed Castres 22-9 in Paris to secure only their second win in five matches. Loosehead prop Heinke van Merwe, lock Gerhard Mostert, flank Jono Ross and centre Meyer Bosman were on duty for Stade.

– Clermont, with hooker Marius van der Westhuizen in their ranks, hammered Pau 35-10 at home. Prop Dan Kotzé and Bok lock Flip van Merwe came off the bench in the 47th and 61st minutes respectively for the winners, while lock Claude Dry featured for Pau from the 47th minute.

Johan Goosen scored the opening try for Racing in their 18-9 victory over hosts Oyonnax. No 8 Antonie Claassen and lock Francois van der Merwe earned starting berths alongside Goosen, who played fullback, while Akker van der Merwe and Juandré Kruger were on the bench. Eighthman Pedrie Wannenburg and hooker Jody Jenneker started for Oyonnax.

– Jake White's Montpellier team came out 30-19 victors against Grenoble in an ill-disciplined match, which produced two yellow cards and two penalty tries. Front rowers Schalk van der Merwe and Pat Cilliers, lock Paul Willemse and flank Wiaan Leibenberg were in Montpellier's run-on XV with CJ van der Linde among the reserves. Gio Aplon, Charl McLeod and Hendrik Roodt did service for Grenoble, with Rossouw de Klerk on the bench.

– Flyhalf Burton Francis kicked three penalties, but it wasn't enough to prevent Agen from slumping to a 31-16 defeat at the hands of Bordeaux, who had locks Jandré Marais and Berend Botha in their team. Tighthead prop Ruaan du Preez and centre Johann Sadie also played for Agen.

– Ex-Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie and his La Rochelle teammates suffered a 39-22 defeat against Toulouse at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. Props Gert Muller and Gurthrö Steenkamp were impact players for the winners.

– Flyhalf Willie du Plessis starred in Toulon's 29-26 loss to Brive. Du Plessis, who is on loan to Toulon as their 'medical joker' for the duration of the World Cup, kicked 16 points (two conversions, three penalties and a drop goal), but a late penalty goal saw Brive snatch victory. Lock Johan Snyman and flank Paul Hauman were starters for Brive.


– Wing Danie Poolman and lock Quinn Roux turned out for Connacht in their 34-15 win over Zebre. Flank Johan Meyer scored a try for Zebre, who also had ex-Bulls fullback Ulrich Beyers, wing Kayle van Zyl and No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk in the team.

– The Glasgow Warriors beat the Newport Gwent Dragons 29-15 at the Scotstoun Stadium. Lock Ligtoring Landman, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and prop Brok Harris were in action for the Dragons, with Landman crossing for a try.

– Wing DTH van der Merwe's rich vein of form continued when he scored a brace on debut for the Llanelli Scarlets, who defeated Leinster 25-14 at Parc y Scarlets. Van der Merwe was Canada's top scorer at the World Cup.

– Edinburgh, with centre Andries Strauss, Anton Bresler and loose forward Cornell du Preez in the team, edged Ulster 16-10. Former Sharks fullback Louis Ludik, lock Franco van der Merwe and front rowers Wiehahn Herbst and Rob Herring represented Ulster.

– Munster outscored the Cardiff Blues five tries to three to record a 35-27 victory. Ex-Stormers wing Gerhard van den Heever, former Bulls No 8 CJ Stander  and Sharks prop BJ Botha were included in Munster's starting lineup.

– Wing Hanno Dirksen's Neath-Swansea Ospreys withstood a late surge by Treviso, to claim a 25-22 win at Stadio Monigo. Loose forward Braam Steyn sat on Treviso's bench, while lock Rynier Benardo completed the Ospreys' match-day squad.

Compiled by Mariette Adams

Photo: Scarlets Rugby/

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Mariette Adams