SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's French Top 14 and Anglo-Welsh Cup matches, which involved South African players.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Former Bulls fullback Ulrich Beyers made his debut for Bordeaux in their 31-23 loss to Clermont on Friday. Beyers kicked a 53rd-minute penalty, while lock Berend Botha was yellow-carded for a high tackle a minute before the break. Prop Dan Kötze came off the bench for Clermont with six minutes to go.
– Toulouse, with prop Gurthrö Steenkamp in their run-on XV, beat Montpellier 18-13 at home. Schalk Ferreira replaced Steenkamp on the hour mark, while Bok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak was an unused substitute. Centre Robert Ebersohn and prop Pat Cilliers started for Montpellier.
– Props JC Janse van Rensburg and Gert Muller featured in Bayonne's dramatic 21-19 win against Castres at the Stade Jean Dauger. Bayonne's fullback kicked a penalty a minute into injury-time to deny Castres their first away win of the season. Jannie Bornman started at the back of the scrum for Castres.
– Grenoble scored two tries to upset hosts Stade Français 30-21. Fullback Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and lock Hendrik Roodt turned out for the winners, with Ross Skeate coming on for Roodt in the 65th minute. For Stade, flyhalf Morné Steyn, eighthman Jono Ross, lock Gerhard Mostert and prop Heinke van der Merwe earned starting berths, with Steyn adding three conversions.
– There was also no joy for the other Paris-based team, Racing Métro, as they were thumped 36-12 by hosts Brive. Lock Peet Marais, flank Paul Hauman and flyhalf Riaan Swanepoel did service for the winners. Prop Johan Coetzee and Kevin Buys were listed as replacements. Johan Goosen played fullback for Racing and started alongside lock Francois van der Merwe and No 8 Antonie Claassen. In the 54th minute, Van der Merwe made way for compatriot Juandré Kruger, but prop Brian Mujati failed to make an appearance off the bench.
– In another shock result, La Rochelle ended Oyonnax's four-match winning streak with a comprehensive 35-20 win in an ill-disciplined match. Ex-Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant added a conversion and four penalties for the winners, before a high tackle earned him a yellow card in the 52nd minute. Former Sharks hooker Jody Jenneker was on duty for Oyonnax, but was sin-binned after 28 minutes for not rolling away. Reserves Ruaan du Preez and Pedrie Wannenburg played for Oyonnax from the 64th and 67th minutes respectively, but lock Jacobus Grobler warmed La Rochelle's bench.
– Toulon, with lock Bakkies Botha, flank Juan Smith and scrumhalf Michael Claassens in their team, defeated Lyon 22-14 to retain their place at the top of the log. Former Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie opened the scoring with a sixth-minute try for Lyon, while his ex-Stormers teammate Deon Fourie was an unused reserve. Toulon used hooker Craig Burden in the final quarter of the match.
– In the repeat of one of the 2014 semi-finals, Saracens avenged last year's 19-point defeat with a 24-20 win over the Northampton Saints to book their place in this year's final. Eighthman Ernst Joubert and flank Nick de Jager did service for the Londoners, who erased an eight-point deficit to claim victory.
– Defending champions the Exeter Chiefs reached the final again, after they beat the Leicester Tigers 30-22 at Welford Road. Lock Sebastian de Chaves led the Tigers in front of their home crowd, but it was Exeter who scored three tries to set up a clash with Saracens in the final to be played at Franklin's Gardens next week.
By Mariette Adams
Photo: Remy Gabalda/AFP Photo