SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's French Top 14, Japanese Top League final and Anglo-Welsh Cup matches, which involved South African players.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Toulon ousted visitors Bayonne 24-17 to move to second on the table, level on points with leaders Stade Français. Bryan Habana, who started alongside Bakkies Botha and Juan Smith, gave the champions an early advantage with a well-worked try. Scrumhalf Michael Claassens joined his compatriots in the 63rd minute. Props JC Janse van Rensburg and Gert Muller turned out for Bayonne, with the latter receiving a yellow card late in the first half.
– Montpellier, who had to manage with 14 men from the 19th minute after their scrumhalf received a straight red card, stunned Bordeaux 34-24. Locks Jandré Marais and Berend Botha represented Bayonne, who failed to capatilise on the numerical advantage. Montpellier prop Pat Cilliers and Bayonne scrumhalf Heini Adams played from the 40th and 65th minutes respectively.
– Peter Grant's boot proved to be the difference as La Rochelle upset Clermont 16-12. Grant, featuring alongside hooker Rassie van Vuuren for La Rochelle, kicked a conversion and three penalties in a result which saw Clermont relinquish their position at the top of the log.
– Brive romped to an impressive 23-0 win over Grenoble. Centre Riaan Swanepoel, flank Paul Hauman and prop Kevin Buys were on duty for the victors, while lock Hendrik Roodt and scrumhalf Charl McLeod started for Grenoble.
– Johan Goosen booted two penalties and a conversion as Racing Métro struggled to an unconvincing 13-11 away win against Lyon. Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie, flank Deon Fourie and lock Coenie Basson did service for the hosts, and came up against Goosen, Juandré Kruger and Antonie Claassen of Racing.
– Stade Français missed an opportunity to take advantage of Clermont's slip-up against La Rochelle, losing 15-13 to Oyonnax. Stade could have stretched away from Clermont at the top of the standings, but put in a poor performance at home to go level on points with Clermont and Toulon. Meyer Bosman, Jono Ross, Heinke van Merwe and Gerhard Mostert were used by Stade, but Bok flyhalf Morné Steyn was again an unused substitute.
– Castres' struggles continued when they lost 13-9 to Toulouse. Former Bulls duo Gurthrö Steenkamp and Jano Vermaak were on duty for Toulouse, while flank Jannie Bornman was included in the Castres match-day squad.
JAPANESE TOP LEAGUE FINAL
– The Panasonic Wild Knights beat the Yamaha Júbilo 30-12 in the final on Sunday, to claim their second consecutive title. Bok wing JP Pietersen, who came on in the 56th minute, set up the champions' fourth and final try to complete the rout.
– Saracens, with Nick de Jager at the back of the scrum, battled to a 20-15 victory over city rivals London Welsh on Sunday. Welsh, who had flank Ben Pienaar in their starting XV, almost clinched their first win of the season but conceded two late penalties which Saracens converted.
– The Leicester Tigers outmuscled the Northampton Saints 17-8 at Welford Road. Lock Sebastian de Chaves earned a rare starting berth and scored the opening try for the hosts.
– Lock Rynier Bernardo and his Neath-Swansea Ospreys teammates suffered a 32-25 defeat against Gloucester at Kingsholm Stadium. Bernardo played well for the Ospreys, who initially kept up with Gloucester, but ill-discipline cost them the match, as they received two yellow cards within a few minutes and conceded a penalty try.
– The Llanelli Scarlets staged a second-half comeback to beat London Irish 27-18. Lock George Earle and prop Jacobie Adriaanse featured in the Scarlets pack, as they scored three second-half tries to claim victory.
By Mariette Adams
Photo: Xavier Leoty/AFP Photo