SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup matches involving South African players.
– Wasps, featuring centre Juan de Jongh, No 8 Nizaam Carr and hooker Ashley Johnson, slumped to a 49-29 defeat against La Rochelle at the Ricoh Arena. The win takes La Rochelle seven points clear at the top of the log.
– Ulster kept their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs alive with a hard fought 17-5 win over hosts Harlequins in the London snow. Flank Renaldo Bothma started for Quins. Ulster had front rowers Wiehahn Herbst and Rob Herring and replacement wing Louis Ludik in their team.
– Nic Groom, David Ribbans and Francois van Wyk were in the Northampton Saints’ run-on XV in their 43-32 loss against the Ospreys. Groom scored one of Northampton’s tries and was replaced by compatriot Cobus Reinach. Wing Hanno Dirksen started for the Ospreys, but received a red card two minutes before the end for a dangerous tackle.
– Don Armand’s Exeter Chiefs suffered an 18-8 defeat at the hands of Leinster at Sandy Park. Leinster are still six points clear at the top.
– Montpellier compounded the Glasgow Warriors’ misfortune in this competition with a stunning 29-22 win over their hosts at the Scotstoun Stadium. Frans Steyn and Jan Serfontein were Montpellier’s starting centres while Jacques du Plessis and Nico Janse van Rensburg were the preferred locks. Johannes Jonker and Bismarck du Plessis anchored the front row and Henry Immelman was benched. Du Plessis scored the bonus-point try for the winners and Steyn kicked seven points. Montpellier are level on points with Exeter Chiefs.
– CJ Stander, Chris Cloete and Jean Kleyn were in the Munster side that thrashed the Leicester Tigers 33-10 at Thomond Park. Cloete scored for the hosts, who have now taken a four-point lead at the top of the table in the pool of death.
– Castres pulled off a big upset when they beat Racing 16-13. All four of Castres’ South Africans – Robert Ebersohn, Rory Kockott, Dan Kötze and Jody Jenneker – played a part in this match. Flank Bernard le Roux was selected on the bench for Racing.
– In a riveting contest, Toulon clinched a 24-20 win against Bath at the Stade Mayol. Captain Duane Vermeulen was back in Toulon’s starting XV, with Marcel van der Merwe, Juandré Kruger and JP Pietersen used as impact players in the second half. Hooker Michael van Vuuren was on duty for Bath.
– With lock David Bulbring and tighthead prop Werner Kruger in their ranks, the Scarlets scored two late tries to claim an unconvincing 33-28 triumph against a plucky Treviso outfit.
– The Dragons moved to the summit of Pool 1 with a 15-0 victory over Enisei-STM. Wing Pat Howard and lock Ligtoring Landman did duty for the Dragons.
– Wandile Mjekevu scored a brace of tries for Toulouse in their 30-23 win over Lyon. Toulouse included Rynhardt Elstadt in their starting XV, with prop Maks van Dyk coming off the bench. Lock Francois van der Merwe started for Lyon with Etienne Oosthuizen coming off the bench.
– Jono Ross led Sale to a 24-0 victory over Cardiff to move the side to within two points of the visitors in Pool 2. Rohan Janse van Rensburg started for Sale, while George Earle played for Cardiff.
– Lock Christiaan van der Merwe and flank Marco Kotze started for Agen in their 40-21 loss to Pau. The win puts Pau in control of Pool 3.
– Gloucester kept their Challenge Cup playoff hopes alive with a 33-26 win over Zebre. Ruan Ackermann scored the opening try for Gloucester. Flank Johan Meyer opened the scoring with a try for Zebre.
– Prop Heinke van der Merwe, flank Craig Burden and scrumhalf Charl McLeod all started for Stade Français in their 39-24 win over Krasny Yar.
– Former Lions flyhalf Jaco van der Walt kicked three conversions as Edinburgh powered to a 50-20 win over London Irish. The win extends Edinburgh’s lead at the top of the pool to eight points.
– Hooker Kurt Haupt came off the bench for Worcester in their 35-14 win over Oyonnax, which saw the hosts power to the top of the pool. Scrumhalf James Hall started for Oyonnax, while prop Kevin Buys was a replacement.
– Petrus Hauman captained Brive in their 38-31 loss to Connacht. Locks Johan Snyman and Jan Uys started for Brive.
Compiled by Mariette Adams & Dylan Jack
Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images