SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s European Champions and Challenge Cup matches involving South African players.
– Flank Nizaam Carr and replacement No 8 Ashley Johnson played for Wasps in their 37-19 defeat against Leinster. The result guaranteed Leinster a home quarter-final, while Wasps finished bottom of the pool log with just one win.
– Toulouse ground out a 20-17 win over Bath to book their place in the last eight. Flank Rynhardt Elstadt and wing Cheslin Kolbe started for Toulouse and were replaced in the 50th and 58th minutes respectively. Loose forward Francois Louw and hooker Michael van Vuuren were in Bath’s match 23.
– Don Armand’s try was in vain as his Exeter Chiefs side slumped to a 9-7 defeat against Munster. Lock Jean Kleyn and No 8 CJ Stander were starters for Munster, while compatriot Arno Botha started the second half. Munster are the only team in this pool to qualify for the quarters.
– Castres, featuring fullback Scott Spedding, centre Robert Ebersohn and scrumhalf Rory Kockott beat Gloucester 24-22 in a bottom-of-the-table clash. Kockott kicked two crucial conversions to win the game for the hosts. No 5 lock Gerbrand Grobler played for Gloucester.
– Centre Brad Barritt, flank Schalk Burger and prop Vincent Koch were in the Saracens team that thrashed the Glasgow Warriors 38-19. Koch scored one of Sarries’ five tries. Wing DTH van der Merwe and prop Oli Kebble were on duty for the Warriors, who qualified as one of the three best pool runners-up.
– The Cardiff Blues did the double over Lyon after clinching a 33-14 triumph in the return game. Scrumhalf Charl McLeod, locks Etienne Oosthuizen and Francois van der Merwe and No 8 Deon Fourie did service for the French side, who had to settle for a last-place pool finish.
– Racing 92, with loose forwards Bernard le Roux and Antonie Claassen in their ranks, outlasted the Scarlets 46-33 to secure top spot in Pool 4. Ex-Bulls lock David Bulbring made the Scarlets’ run-on XV.
– Ulster edged the Leicester Tigers 14-13 to advance to the quarter-finals. The Irish side had Louis Ludik at fullback and Marcell Coetzee at No 8, but Coetzee was forced off the field in the 34th minute due to a left hamstring injury. Hooker Rob Herring was on the bench for Ulster.
– Jaco van der Walt was the star of the show as he guided Edinburgh to a stunning 19-10 win against Montpellier in a Saffa-laden contest. Van der Walt, who slotted four penalties and a conversion for a 14-point haul, played alongside wing Duhan van der Merwe and front rowers Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel and Allan Dell. Montpellier failed to fire on all cylinders, despite calling on the services of fullback Frans Steyn, centre Jan Serfontein, wing Henry Immelman, flyhalf Johan Goosen, scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, locks Jacques du Plessis, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Paul Willemse (replacement), hooker Bismarck du Plessis and prop Jannie du Plessis. Bismarck scored Montpellier’s only try, with Pienaar adding the conversion and a penalty. Edinburgh’s props, Nel and Dell, scrummed Montpellier’s front row into submission, which led to the withdrawal of Jannie du Plessis after just 30 minutes.
– Clermont thrashed the Dragons 49-7 to book a home-semi final against the Northampton Saints. Flip van der Merwe was at lock for Clermont and made a linebreak, turnover and 10 tackles before being replaced by 20-year-old Grey College graduate and former SA Schools lock Jacobus van Tonder. The Dragons had Zane Kirchner at fullback and Jarryd Sage at inside centre.
– Pau ended their Challenge Cup campaign on a high by beating the Ospreys 26-21. Bulls loanee Johnny Kotze scored a second-half brace to give the Ospreys a temporary lead. Wing Hanno Dirksen also had an impressive 70 minutes for the Welsh side, making two clean breaks and 46m with ball-in-hand. Lourens Adriaanse was at tighthead prop for Pau.
– Dean Hammond was the hero for the Worcester Warriors as his try after the hooter gave them a dramatic 36-31 victory over State Français. The Warriors, led by No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, were already assured of a place in the last eight, but the win secured them a home-quarter final against Harlequins. Scrumhalf Piet van Zyl and lock Hendré Stassen were on duty for Stade, who finished their campaign bottom of Pool 2.
– Quinn Roux captained Connacht for the first time, leading them to a 33-27 victory over Bordeaux-Begles. The win saw the Irish province finish second in Pool 3 and set up an enticing quarter-final clash against the Sale Sharks.
– The Sale Sharks powered past Perpignan to claim a 39-10 bonus-point win and top Pool 3. Sharks captain Jono Ross capped a fine individual performance by busting over the line in the second half for one of their five tries. Faf de Klerk, who was involved in setting up four of those tries, kicked three conversions and a penalty for the Sharks, who had Josh Strauss at No 8. Tighthead prop Gert Muller came off the bench for Perpignan.
– La Rochelle booked their place in the playoffs by battling to a 22-10 win against a struggling Zebre side. Wiaan Liebenberg played the full 80 minutes for La Rochelle, making 23 tackles and winning a turnover, winning his duel with Johan Meyer, who was at flank for Zebre. Italy hooker Luhandre Luus played 60 minutes for Zebre.
– The Bristol Bears ran in their second big win over Ensei-STM in as many weeks as they humiliated the Russian side in a 17-try, 107-19 victory. Hooker Nick Fenton-Wells came off the bench early in the second half for the Bears, who finished second in Pool B and will travel to France to face La Rochelle in the quarter-finals.
– Harlequins secured their place in the playoffs by beating Agen 33-7. South African-born Namibia flank Renaldo Bothma played most of the second half after coming off the bench just after half-time. Johann Sadie was at outside centre for Agen and had a hand in one of their three tries, making one linebreak and an offload. Veteran scrumhalf Ricky Januarie played 30 minutes off the bench.
– Benetton Treviso failed to make it past the group stage despite a 39-7 win against Grenoble. Dewaldt Duvenage played 54 minutes at scrumhalf for Treviso and set up one of their five tries. Braam Steyn was at flank for Treviso and made an immense 54m from 13 carries, while also winning three turnovers. Grenoble had Françis Uys at lock and brought loosehead prop JC Janse van Rensburg off the bench.
Compiled by Dylan Jack & Mariette Adams