Springboks Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager both made their presence felt as they both came off the bench to help the Sale Sharks beat the London Irish in round 13 of the Premiership.
– De Klerk and De Jager both made their comebacks from their respective injuries as the Sharks claimed a bonus-point 39-0 win on Saturday. De Jager, who has been out with a shoulder injury since the 2019 World Cup final, got to make his belated Sharks debut, while De Klerk came back from a knee injury. Both wasted no time getting involved as De Klerk picked up two try assists, while De Jager made six carries and four tackles.
Also in action for the Sharks was Jean-Luc du Preez, who switched from lock to flank when De Jager replaced flank Jono Ross, as well as No 8 Daniel du Preez, who made 14 carries and beat nine defenders, flyhalf Robert du Preez, who kicked three conversions and a penalty and loosehead prop Coenie Oosthuizen. The London Irish had Franco van der Merwe in their second row and the lock did his best in difficult circumstances, making 14 tackles and stealing two lineouts.
Callum Sheedy and @BristolBears set up a wonder try last week… 🙌
— Sale Sharks🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) March 7, 2020
— ROCKONRUGBY (@rockonrugby) March 7, 2020
– There was a clash of the South African scrumhalves as the Northampton Saints stopped a four-game losing streak by beating the Worcester Warriors 16-10 on Friday. Francois Hougaard was at No 9 for the Warriors and statistically came out on top against opposite number Cobus Reinach. Hougaard made 88 passes and two offloads as well as seven carries and two clean breaks, while Reinach completed 53 passes, with nine carries for 38m. Francois van Wyk was at loosehead prop for the Saints. Meanwhile, the Warriors had tighthead Nic Schonert and No 8 Cornell du Preez in their starting lineup, while bringing prop Richard Palframan, loose-forward Gerrit-Jan van Velze and utility back Scott van Breda off the bench.
– The Exeter Chiefs reinforced their title credentials as they scored eight tries to hammer Bath 57-20 and extend their lead at the top of the table to five points. Forwards Jannes Kirsten and Jacques Vermeulen starred in a dominant performance from the Chiefs. Kirsten got on the scoreboard as he rounded off a fantastic team try before half-time while he also made 32m from 13 carries and 14 tackles. Meanwhile, Vermeulen made 12 tackles, missing one, while beating two defenders from 11 carries. Francois Louw played just over a half for Bath, making 15 tackles in 41 minutes before being replaced.
– Wasps continued their climb up the table as they handed Johan Ackermann’s Gloucester a top-four blow by claiming a 39-22 win. Nizaam Carr enjoyed another solid performance at No 8 for Wasps, scoring their bonus-point try in the first half while beating three defenders with ball-in-hand. Gloucester had regulars Ruan Ackermann, Franco Mostert and hooker Franco Marais in their starting pack. Wasps are now up to fifth on the log, trailing fourth-placed Northampton by just two points. Gloucester, meanwhile, have dropped down to ninth place.
It just keeps getting better. It was honestly the best feeling getting another Victory yesterday and to share it with my family. Proud to be part of @WaspsRugby and to share it with my team mates. Thank you everyone for continued support. pic.twitter.com/BF4RRVlcwz
— Nizaam Carr (@NizaamCarr8) March 8, 2020
– Brad Barritt and Vincent Koch both enjoyed standout performances as Saracens fought to a 24-13 victory over the Leicester Tigers in a Premiership basement battle. Saracens captain Barritt returned from injury to lead the side and did excellently at inside centre, making 49m from 11 carries, with 15 passes, two clean breaks and three defenders beaten. Springbok tighthead Koch, who reaffirmed his commitment to Saracens last week, made 12 tackles. There was also a comeback for loose-forward Michael Rhodes, who had a good impact from the bench, running 41m, making a clean break and an offload.
Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images