SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Pro14, French Top 14 and Japanese Top League matches involving South African players.
– Jean-Luc du Preez‘s first Premiership try was not enough to prevent the Sale Sharks from drawing 7-7 in a tough encounter with Bath. Du Preez muscled over from close range just after half-time to give Sale the lead, with brother Robert adding a conversion. Also in action for Sale were scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and captain Jono Ross, while Josh Strauss came off the bench for the final quarter. Francois Louw started for Bath and made two turnovers. Loosehead prop Jacques van Rooyen was a substitute for Bath.
– Defending champions Saracens moved back to the top of the Premiership with a convincing 29-6 win against Wasps. Centre and captain Brad Barritt, tighthead prop Vincent Koch and flank Michael Rhodes were all in Saracens’ starting XV. Wasps had fullback Willie le Roux and flank Nizaam Carr in their starting lineup, with centre Juan de Jongh making a late appearance off the bench.
– Cobus Reinach grabbed a brace in the Northampton Saints’ 16-14 loss to the Newcastle Falcons. Reinach crossed in each half to give the home side a 14-6 lead, which they relinquished in the final 10 minutes. Hooker Kyle Cooper started for Newcastle, while loosehead prop Francois van Wyk was a replacement for the Saints.
– Harlequins brought the Exter Chiefs’ eight-game winning run to an end with a stunning 28-26 win. Don Armand played the full 80 minutes for the Chiefs, but his efforts could not stop them from losing their first match of the season and relinquishing top spot.
– Jaco Visagie rounded off a flurry of tries as Gloucester claimed a 36-16 victory in their local derby against the Worcester Warriors. The on-loan Bulls hooker crossed for one of four second-half tries for Johan Ackermann‘s side, who brought Bok lock Franco Mostert off the bench. Flank Jaco Kriel started for Gloucester. In action for the Warriors were centre Francois Venter, tighthead prop Nic Schonert, lock Anton Bresler and No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, who captains the team.
– Munster beat Edinburgh 44-14 to win their sixth match in a row. No 8 Arno Botha started alongside flank Chris Cloete in the Munster loose trio and helped set up one of their eight tries. Wing Duhan van der Merwe grabbed a brace of tries for Edinburgh, while flyhalf Jaco van der Walt added a conversion for the visitors.
– The Ospreys produced a scintillating second-half performance to thrash Zebre 43-0. Tighthead prop Tom Botha was the only South African in the Ospreys’ match 23. Flyhalf Francois Brummer, flank Johan Meyer and replacement hooker Luhandre Luus all did duty for Zebre.
– Ulster continued their fine home record by claiming a 16-12 win against the Cardiff Blues. Louis Ludik was on the wing for Ulster, who had hooker Rob Herring and No 8 Marcell Coetzee in their lineup. Experienced lock George Earle was a replacement for the Blues.
– Leinster scored 50 points for the second game running as the defending champions hammered the Dragons 59-10. Centre Jarryd Sage and lock Rynard Landman both started for the Newport-based Welsh region.
– Brandon Thomson put on a playmaker’s masterclass as he scored 24 points to help the Glasgow Warriors, who were down to 14 men, beat the Scarlets 29-20. Thomson scored one of the Warriors’ two tries, kicked two conversions and five penalties as the former Stormers flyhalf continued his fine form in the Pro14. Loosehead prop Oli Kebble came off the bench for Glasgow. Tighthead prop Werner Kruger and No 8 Uzair Cassiem were both in action for the Scarlets, while Clayton Blommetjies came on to the wing in the second half and scored a late try.
– Benetton Treviso returned to winning ways by beating the Kings 22-19. Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage and lock Irné Herbst both started for the Italians, who condemned the Kings to their sixth straight loss.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Clermont, with former Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe in their ranks, strengthened their position at the top of the table with a thrilling 28-23 win over Montpellier. Fullback Frans Steyn, centre Johan Goosen and Jan Serfontein, scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar and locks Paul Willemse and Jacques du Plessis all started for the hosts. Steyn kicked two conversions and Pienaar three penalties. Montpellier have dropped down to ninth position.
– Agen caused a big upset when they beat Castres 16-13. Scott Spedding, Robert Ebersohn, Rory Kockott, Dan Kötze and Jody Jenneker represented the defending champions, who conceded three yellow cards. Johann Sadie played outside centre for Agen.
– Charl McLeod, Francois van der Merwe and Albertus Buckle featured in the Lyon side that claimed a 30-10 bonus-point win over Pau. Lyon are now fourth in the standings. Prop Lourens Adriaanse was used as a second-half substitute by Pau.
– Toulon claimed a much-needed 22-3 victory against Grenoble. The win – just their fourth of the season – takes Toulon out of the relegation zone. Springboks Juandré Kruger, JP Pietersen and Marcel van der Merwe were on duty for Toulon. Loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg was selected in Grenoble’s run-on XV.
– No 8 Antonie Claassen’s Racing 92 slumped to a 16-11 defeat against hosts La Rochelle. The result sees La Rochelle move to third place on the log, above Racing, who are now fifth.
– Lock Bêrend Botha and prop Gert Muller did service for Perpignan in their 22-11 defeat to Bordeaux. Jandré Marais starred in the second row for Bordeaux, who are up to sixth spot.
– Toulouse hammered Stade Français 49-22 at the Stade Ernest-Wallon. Lock Rynhardt Elstadt and prop Maks van Dyk were on duty for the winners. Piet van Zyl, Willem Alberts, Hanro Liebenberg and Morné Steyn turned out for Stade, with Liebenberg crossing for one of their two tries.
JAPANESE TOP LEAGUE
– Flank Kwagga Smith and wing Gerrie Labuschagne scored a try each for the Yamaha Jubilo in their 33-21 win over the NTT Communications Shining Arcs. Centre Shane Gates bagged a try for the Shining Arcs and was joined in their starting lineup by lock Robert Kruger.
– Deon Stegmann and his Honda Heat teammates edged the Munakata Sanix Blues 38-34. Sharks and Springbok duo André Esterhuizen and Curwin Bosch starred for the Blues, with Esterhuizen scoring a try and Bosch adding 14 points via two penalties and four conversions in a losing cause.
– No 8 Henco Venter formed part of the Toshiba Brave Lupus side that thrashed the Hino Red Dolphins 48-26.
– The Kubota Spears, featuring Ruan Botha, Lappies Labuschagne, Duane Vermeulen and Gerhard van den Heever, lost 28-26 to Suntory Sungoliath. Van den Heever scored a try and kicked two conversions.
– Flank Grant Hattingh was in the Kobe Kobelco Steelers side that obliterated the Ricoh Black Rams 63-27. Kobelco outscored their visitors eight tries to four.
– Fred Zeilinga and Philip van der Walt were influential in the Canon Eagles’ 51-17 demolition of the Toyota Industries Shuttles. Zeilinga slotted four conversions, a penalty and scored a try, while Van der Walt also dotted down. Flank Nic de Jager started for the Industries Shuttles.
– Centre Clinton Swart contributed 21 points – four penalties, two conversions and a try – to guide Toyota Verblitz to a 31-27 win over the Panasonic Wild Knights. Locks Reniel Hugo, Jason Jenkins, flyhalf Lionel Cronjé and fullback Gio Aplon started alongside Swart for the winners, while Carl Wagner was used as an impact player. Lions centre Harold Vorster turned out for the Wild Knights.
Compiled by Dylan Jack & Mariette Adams
Photo: Lynne Cameron/Getty Images