SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's French Top 14 and Anglo-Welsh Cup matches, involving South African players.
FRENCH TOP 14
– In a weekend of upsets, Toulon suffered a 23-20 defeat against high-flying La Rochelle at home in Mayol. Boks Bryan Habana, Juan Smith, Marcel van der Merwe and Juandré Kruger all did service for Toulon. The win took La Rochelle to the summit of the log, while Toulon slipped to fifth.
– Pau stunned hosts Toulouse 20-10. Props Gurthrö Steenkamp and Maks van Dyk were on duty for the Toulouse, who are now sixth in the standings.
– In perhaps the biggest surprise of the round, bottom-feeders Grenoble lashed Stade Français 44-22. Fullback Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and lock Hendrik Roodt turned out for the winners; while hooker Craig Burden, flanks Willem Alberts and Jono Ross, flyhalf Morné Steyn and centre Meyer Bosman played for Stade.
– Paul Willemse scored a brace but it wasn't enough as Montpellier lost 38-25 against Castres. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott, who crossed for a crucial try, hooker Jody Jenneker, prop Dan Kötze and centre Robert Ebersohn were in the winners' team. Prop Jannie du Plessis, lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, flank Jacques du Plessis and flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis featured alongside Willemse for the stuttering Montpellier. Catrakilis kicked two penalties and two conversions.
– In another incredible result, Lyon outlasted Racing to secure a 37-25 victory at home. Prop Albertus Buckle and lock Berend Botha represented Lyon. Racing had back rowers Antonie Claassen and Bernard le Roux and lock Gerbrant Grobler in their side.
– Flyhalf Willie du Plessis contributed 18 points, via three conversions and four penalties, as Bayonne downed Brive 33-23. Locks Johan Snyman and Jan Uys were in Brive's starting lineup.
– Steven Kitshoff was on the bench for Bordeaux, who did well to hold competition favourites Clermont to a 23-23 draw. Bordeaux are now seventh, while Clermont dropped to second in the standings.
– Saracens, with prop Petrus du Plessis and scrumhalf Neil de Kock in their ranks, beat Scarlets 32-17 to move to top of Pool 1. Lock Rynier Bernardo started for the hosts.
– Hooker Michael van Vuuren and his Bath teammates had to settle for a 17-17 after the Gloucester managed to score a converted try in the 78th minute of the game.
– Centre Wynand Olivier scored one of three tries for the Worcester Warriors, but it was in vain as they slumped to a 28-22 defeat against Harlequins. Tighthead prop Nic Schonert featured alongside Olivier for Worcester. Flyhalf Tim Swiel named on Quins' bench.
– Wasps fielded a second string lineup and it showed as they were handed a 52-5 defeat by Exeter Chiefs. Hooker Ashley Johnson was on the bench for Wasps, who are second in Pool 3.
– Flank Nick Fenton-Wells was in the Bristol team that lost 20-14 against hosts Ospreys at Brewery Field.
– Lock Mouritz Botha formed part of the Newcastle Falcons team that secured their first Anglo-Welsh Cup win of the season with a 18-6 triumph over the Newport Gwent Dragons. Fullback Carl Meyer, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and lock Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris all started for the Dragons.
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