• Groom strikes as Saints stay alive

    SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14, Celtic Pro12 and European Champions Cup matches, involving South African players.

    PREMIERSHIP

    – Wasps, featuring Willie le Roux and Ashley Johnson in their starting lineup, beat the Leicester Tigers 21-20 to advance to their first Premiership final in nine years. In a captivating clash at Ricoh Arena, the hosts scored a match-winning try in the 78th minute.

    – A last-minute try saw the Exeter Chiefs stun Saracens 18-16 at Sandy Park. Flank Don Armand played superbly for the Chiefs. Michael Rhodes and Vincent Koch earned starting berths for Saracens, who used Schalk Brits, Petrus du Plessis and Schalk Burger as impact players off the bench.

    TOP 14

    – Flank Bernard le Roux, No 8 Antonie Claassen and lock Gerbrandt Grobler turned out for Racing 92 in their shock 22-13 playoff win against hosts Montpellier. In what was his last game in charge of Montpellier, Jake White selected Henry Immelman and Frans Steyn as the centres, Willie du Plessis at flyhalf, Pierrie Spies at eighthman, Jacques du Plessis and Paul Willemse as the lock pairing and hooker Bismarck du Plessis at hooker. Wing Duhan van der Merwe and flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis and prop Jannie du Plessis were on the bench, with Du Plessis given a straight red card late in the game for throwing a punch.

    WATCH: Du Plessis red-carded for punch

    – Toulon booked their place in the semi-finals with a 26-22 victory against Castres. Bok quartet Duane Vermeulen, Juan Smith, Juandré Kruger and Marcel van der Merwe turned out for the winners. Castres had Robert Ebersohn, Rory Kockott and Jody Jenneker in their match 23.

    PRO12

    – Munster cruised to a 23-3 win over the Ospreys to book their place in the Pro12 final. CJ Stander started and Jaco Taute was on the bench for Munster, who scored three unanswered tries.

    – Leinster, with Richardt Strauss and Zane Kirchner in their ranks, slumped to a shock 27-15 semi-final defeat at the hands of the Scarlets. Former Bulls prop Werner Kruger and wing DTH van der Merwe did service for the Scarlets.

    CHAMPIONS CUP QUALIFIERS

    – Stade Français progressed to the playoff final after beating the Cardiff Blues 46-21. Centre Meyer Bosman, Morné Steyn, Willem Alberts, Heinke van der Merwe and Jono Ross starred for Stade, with Steyn adding 11 points via four conversions and a penalty.

    – The Northampton Saints will contest the playoff final against Stade after they beat Connacht 21-15. Scrumhalf Nic Groom was on duty for the Saints and scored a crucial try to help his team to victory. Connacht started with wing Danie Poolman and lock Quinn Roux.

    Compiled by Mariette Adams

    Photo: Champions Cup/Inpho Photography

    Post by

    Mariette Adams