SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's Japanese Top League, English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, which involved South African players.
JAPANESE TOP LEAGUE
– No 8 Keegan Daniel scored a brace to help the Kubota Spears defeat the Coca-Cola Red Sparks 18-8 at home. The Spears now top the Group 2 standings.
– Elton Jantjies started at inside centre for the NTT Communications Shining Arcs and kicked two penalties, but it wasn't enough as they lost 35-11 to the Canon Eagles.
– Suntory Sungoliath egded Yamaha Jubilo 16-12 with ex-Sharks flank Justin Downey in their starting team.
– The NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes breezed past the Toyota Industries Shuttles 35-17. Flank Heinrich Brüssow made the Hurricanes' starting XV and was replaced by Wimpie van der Walt in the 66th minute. But it was substitute Riaan Viljoen who came on in the 39th minute and scored a five-pointer for the winners. Loose forward Ryan Kankowski represented the Shuttles from the 62nd minute.
– Flank Jean Deysel turned out for the Toyota Verblitz, who suffered a 30-10 defeat at the hands of the Panasonic Wild Knights.
– The Toshiba Brave Lupus beat the Kobe Kobelco Steelers 30-20. Centre Frans Steyn played for the winners, while his former national teammates Jaque Fourie and Andries Bekkker were both in the Steelers starting lineup.
– Ex-Bulls flank Jacques Potgieter and his Sanix Blues teammates suffered a fifth straight defeat when they went down 21-16 to the Ricoh Blacks Rams.
– Tim Swiel was in Harlequins' match-day squad that suffered a 25-6 defeat to Bath at the Rec on Friday. The bonus-point victory moved Bath up to second on the log,
– The Leicester Tigers converted a late penalty to beat London Wasps 18-16 at Welford Road. Loose forward Ashley Johnson remained on the Wasps bench throughout the match.
– The Exeter Chiefs eased past Saracens with a 27-9 win on Sunday. Ex-Stormers flank Don Armand played for the winners, while scrumhalf Neil de Kock, eighthman Ernst Joubert and lock Mouritz Botha turned out for Sarries under the leadership of lock Alistair Hargreaves. The Chiefs are third on the table and Saracens fourth.
– No 8 Ben Pienaar and his London Welsh teammates conceded seven tries as they slumped to a 43-14 defeat against the log leading Northampton Saints. After nine rounds, Welsh remain the only side yet to register a win.
– The Cardiff Blues came out tops in a high-scoring affair against Treviso, winning 36-25 on Friday. Lock Corniel van Zyl skippered the Italian side, with compatriot Meyer Swanepoel packing down on the side of the scrum.
– Ulster missed a last-gasp conversion to hand a Munster a 21-20 win at Thomond Park on Friday. Ex-Stormers duo Gerhard van den Heever and Pat Howard, flank CJ Stander and prop BJ Botha all represented Munster. Former Sharks fullback Louis Ludik, ex-Lions lock Franco van der Merwe, prop Wiehahn Herbst, hooker Rob Herring and loose forward Robbie Diack all played for Ulster.
– Zebre produced the upset of the weekend when they erased a seven-point deficit to beat Edinburgh 18-10 on Sunday. Fullback Hennie Daniller, lock Quintin Geldenhuys and No 8 Andries van Schalkwyk turned out for the Italians, who climbed to 10th on the log. Centre Andries Strauss and prop WP Nel made Edinburgh's run-on XV.
– Fullback Zane Kirchner's Leinster beat centre Hanno Dirksen's Neath-Swansea Ospreys 18-12. Leinster rose to fifth on the log, with the Ospreys, who had lock Rynier Bernardo on the bench, dropping to second behind Munster.
– Connacht, with wing Danie Poolman and lock Quinn Roux in their starting XV, clinched a 14-8 win against the Llanelli Scarlets, to edge them into sixth place in the standings. Locks Johan Snyman and George Earle along with prop Jacobie Adriaanse represented the Scarlets.
– The Glasgow Warriors laboured to a 19-15 victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons on Sunday. DTH van der Merwe, No 8 Josh Strauss and flank Tyrone Holmes were part of the victorious team, while skipper Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris played for the Dragons.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Toulon defeated Clermont 27-19 to rise to the top of the Top 14 table. Flank Juan Smith started for the champions and was replaced by compatriot Gerhard Vosloo in the 62nd minute. Prop Daniel Kötze came off the wood for Clermont in the 67th minute.
– Flyhalf Johan Goosen slotted two penalties and a drop goal to hand Racing Métro a 14-9 win against Castres. Locks Juandré Kruger and Francois van der Merwe and scrumhalf Antonie Claassen played alongside Goosen. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott accumulated all Castres' points with three penalties.
– A late penalty kick earned Bayonne a share of the spoils as they drew 19-19 with hosts La Rochelle. Fullback Scott Spedding converted one of four penalty goals for Bayonne and Gert Muller scrummed down in the front row. La Rochelle used lock Jacobus Grobler and flyhalf Peter Grant as substitutes from the 57th and 75th minutes respectively.
– In an ill-tempered match, which boasted four yellow cards, Lyon stunned Montpellier 23-20. Lock Coenie Basson, flank Deon Fourie and scrumhalf Ricky Januarie started for Lyon with Basson spending 10 minutes in the sin bin. For Montpellier, centre Robert Ebersohn played 70 minutes before Wynand Olivier replaced him, while prop Pat Cilliers remained rooted to the bench.
– Hooker Jody Jenneker and No 8 Pedrie Wannenburg retained their places in Oyonnax's run-on XV that beat Bordeaux 28-23 at the Stade Charles-Mathon. Replacement fullback Riaan Smit came on in the final minute for the winners, while Bordeaux lock Jandré Marais came on for Berend Botha in the 52nd.
– Fullback Gio Aplon scored his first try for Grenoble to help oust Toulouse 25-22. He was joined by locks Paul Willemse and Hendrik Roodt in the starting team, with scrumhalf Charl McLeod relegated to the bench. Toulouse used scrumhalf Jano Vermaak as an impact player from the 58th minute.
– Stade Français battled past Brive 20-17 to retain third place on the log. Centre Meyer Bosman scored Stade's third try and was joined by flyhalf Morné Steyn in the 67th minute. Lock Peet Marais and eighthman Paul Hauman turned out for Brive.
By Mariette Adams
Photo: Japan Rugby Magazine