SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches, involving South African players.
– The Northampton Saints, with former Bok lock Victor Matfield in their ranks, suffered a shock 25-23 defeat against the previously winless London Irish. The Saints looked set to win at the Madejski Stadium, but with two minutes left they conceded a yellow card and a penalty try which levelled the scores. The conversion handed the Exiles their first win of the campaign.
– Flank Don Armand and the Exeter Chiefs claimed a 33-17 bonus-point win over the Sale Sharks at Sandy Park. Deadlocked at 10-10 at half-time, the Chiefs pulled away from Sale, who had prop Brian Mujati on their bench. The result keeps the Chiefs second on the log, while Sale dropped to ninth.
– The Leicester Tigers ran in three tries to beat the Newcastle Falcons 22-10 in an ill-disciplined match that produced three yellow cards. Lock Sebastian de Chaves came off the bench for the Tigers, while opposite number Mouritz Botha also substituted for the Falcons.
– Saracens continued to steamroll all opposition when they brushed aside Wasps 26-16 at the Ricoh Arena. Centre Brad Barritt, flank Michael Rhodes and prop Petrus du Plessis earned starting berths for the table-topping Sarries, who are the only undefeated team both domestically and in Europe. Ashley Johnson played hooker for the eighth-ranked Wasps.
– Bath regained some form with a much-needed 21-14 win against the Worcester Warriors at the Rec. The Warriors, featuring centre Wynand Olivier and prop Nic Schonert, fought valiantly, but were outscored two tries to one. Bath moved to seventh position and the Warriors remain 10th.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Toulouse handed Toulon a humiliating 31-8 lashing. The winners stormed to a bonus-point triumph that took them to the top of the log after 11 rounds. Boks Duane Vermeulen and Bryan Habana started for the out of sorts Toulon, but Vermeulen was replaced by Juan Smith in the 45th minute after a big tackle collision. Toulon are fourth on the log.
– Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis contributed 15 points (six conversions and a penalty) to Montpellier’s 45-20 thrashing of Agen. Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis, who completed the front row alongside brother Jannie du Plessis, crashed over for one of six Montpellier tries. Flank Wiaan Liebenberg and lock Paul Willemse also played for the winners, who moved up to sixth on the log. Burton Francis, Johann Sadie, Marco Kotzé and Ruaan du Preez represented Agen, with Sadie scoring their first try and Francis slotting the conversion and two penalties.
– Oyonnax stunned defending champions Stade Français 25-12. Springbok flyhalf Morné Steyn knocked over four penalty goals for Stade, but Oyonnax responded with six of their own coupled with a converted try. Hooker Jody Jenneker and flank Pedrie Wannenburg played for the winners. Prop Heinke van der Merwe, hooker Craig Burden, No 8 Jono Ross and centre Meyer Bosman featured alongside Steyn for Stade, who are languishing in 12th position.
– Castres easily saw off Brive 23-8 despite conceding two yellow cards. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott was in superb form for the winners, nailing two conversions and three penalties for a 13-point haul. Lock Wilhelm Steenkamp and flank Paul Hauman were in Brive’s starting lineup and was joined in the 50th minute by lock Peet Marais.
– Jandré Marais got his name on the scoresheet in Bordeaux’s 25-19 victory over Grenoble. Marais, prop Steven Kitshoff, scrumhalf Heini Adams and lock Berend Botha turned out for the winners, who are in fifth position on the table. Prop Rossouw de Klerk and fullback Gio Aplon were starters for Grenoble with Charl McLeod coming on as a reserve.
– Pau beat La Rochelle 15-11 to secure their fourth win of the campaign. Lock Claude Dry was granted a three-minute cameo for Pau and scrumhalf Ricky Januarie started for La Rochelle.
– Fullback Johan Goosen scored a crucial try to help Racing to a 20-16 win over hosts Clermont. Prop Dan Kotzé and fullback Scott Spedding represented Clermont, who relinquished their position at the summit of the standings. Goosen was joined in the run-on XV by forwards Francois van der Merwe and Antonie Claassen. Teammate Juandré Kruger was a substitute for the winners, who now occupy second spot.
– Munster’s struggles continued as they slumped to a fifth straight defeat in all competitions, this time losing 24-7 against rivals Leinster. No 8 CJ Stander led Munster, who’ve now dropped to sixth. Bok fullback Zane Kirchner started for the winners and scored one of their three tries.
– Edinburgh kicked off the title defence of their 1982 Cup with a hard-fought 23-11 victory over inter-city rivals the Glasgow Warriors. Edinburgh won their maiden 1982 Cup last season after Glasgow picked up the silverware for the first five seasons. On Sunday, Edinburgh with prop WP Nel, lock Anton Bresler, eighthman Cornell du Preez and centre Andries Strauss in their midst, took a big stride in their quest for a second successive title. The win also moved them up to fifth in the Pro12 standings, while Glasgow slipped to seventh.
– A last-gasp penalty saw the Cardiff Blues snatch a 21-20 win over the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade. The hosts led 17-6 in the final quarter, but the Blues manufactured a brilliant comeback which included two tries and as many penalties to clinch the win in dramatic fashion. Fullback Carl Meyer, lock Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris turned out for the winners.
– No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk scored a try two minutes into stoppage time to hand Zebre a thrilling 28-25 triumph over Treviso. The win was Zebre’s third victory this season, while it was Treviso’s 21st straight defeat in all competitions. Van Schalkwyk played alongside backs Kayle van Zyl and Ulrich Beyers and flank Johan Meyer. Eighthman Braam Steyn warmed Treviso’s bench.
– Ulster registered a dull 10-3 win against hosts Connaght at the Sportsground. The game looked to be heading for a 3-3 stalemate with neither side threatening to breach the opposition’s defence for the majority of the contest. But in the 76th minute, Ulster burst to life and scored a late try for the win. Fullback Louis Ludik, scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, flank Robbie Diack, lock Franco van der Merwe, tighthead prop Wiehahn Herbst and hooker Rob Herring did service for the winners, who rose to fourth spot on the table.
– The Scarlets missed a last-minute penalty goal as the Ospreys held on for a 27-26 win at Parc y Scarlets. Ospreys wing Hanno Dirksen got the better of his direct opponent DTH van der Merwe, with the former accounting for his team’s first try. The Scarlets remain at the summit of the log in spite of the loss, while the Ospreys stay eighth.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images