Heroic Van der Merwe ousts Ulster

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


– Flank Francois Louw's Bath crushed the Leicester Tigers 47-10 to advance to the final of the English Premiership. Lock Sebastian de Chaves played for the Tigers in the final 10 minutes. Louw is one of four Bath players named in the competition's Team of the Season.

– Saracens beat Northampton 29-24 at Franklin's Gardens, to book their place in the final with Bath. Inside centre Brad Barritt, lock Alistair Hargreaves and prop Petrus du Plessis started in the semi-final, while scrumhalf Neil de Kock completed the match 23.

CELTIC PRO12 (semi-finals)

– Wing DTH van der Merwe came on in the 67th minute to score a converted try which earned the Glasgow Warriors a 16-14 victory over Ulster. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, who started alongside fullback Louis Ludik, kept Ulster in front with three penalties, but it wasn't enough as Van der Merwe's late strike put the Warriors in the final. Tighthead prop Rossouw de Klerk and flank Josh Strauss earned starting berths for the winners. Rob Herring and Robbie Diack warmed Ulster's bench.

– Munster, with No 8 CJ Stander and prop BJ Botha in their ranks, progressed to the Pro12 final, after they edged the Neath-Swansea Ospreys 21-18 at Thomond Park. The Ospreys scored a last-minute try, but it was ruled out because of a knock-on at the breakdown. Stander was named the Man of the Match. The final between Munster and Glasgow will contested at a neutral venue, the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.


– No 8 Antonie Claassen scored one of six tries as Racing Métro thumped Castres in the final round of league-phase matches. Claassen and lock Juandré Kruger were in Racing's run-on XV with Brian Mujati and Francois van der Merwe among the reserves. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott bagged a try for Castres, but two yellow cards, including one for eighthman Jannie Jornman, didn't help their cause.

– Lyon won their last match in top-flight rugby 29-24 against Grenoble. Former Stormers duo Deon Fourie and Ricky Januarie and flank Frans Viljoen did service for the winners with Fourie scoring a seventh-minute try. Charl McLeod, who played alongside Gio Aplon, Hendrik Roodt and Ross Skeate, crossed the tryline for Grenoble and Roodt was sin-binned in the 31st minute.

– Bayonne, with fullback Scott Spedding and prop Gert Muller in their team, scored seven tries to crush La Rochelle 45-12 at home. Flyhalf Peter Grant kicked one conversion for La Rochelle.

– Clermont beat Montpellier 29-17 to finish second on the log and secure a home semi-final. Midfield duo Robert Ebersohn and Wynand Olivier started in tandem for Montpellier and prop Pat Cilliers joined them in the 50th minute.

– On the cusp of relegation, Brive stunned Stade Français with a 27-0 bonus-point victory to secure their place in the Top 14. Flyhalf Riaan Swanepoel and lock Peet Marais represented Brive, with the former scoring the all-important fourth try. Eighthman Jono Ross, flyhalf Morné Steyn, centre Meyer Bosman and lock Gerhard Mostert featured for Stade, who will face Parisian neighbours Racing in the play-off qualifier.

– Bok trio Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha and Juan Smith starred in Toulon's 46-17 demolition of Oyonnax, with Habana running in one of their six tries. Prop Ruaan du Preez, No 8 Pedrie Wannenburg and fullback Riaan Smit turned out for Oyonnax. But it was replacement hooker Jody Jenneker who scored a five-pointer for Oyonnax. Toulon top the log and will host a semi-final, while Oyonnax will first have to play a play-off qualifier against Toulouse.

– Gurthrö Steenkamp's Toulouse overcame a first-half red card, to clinch a 23-22 win over Bordeaux-Bègles. Locks Jandré Marais and Berend Botha, and scrumhalf Heini Adams, turned out for Bordeaux, who narrowly missed out on a qualifying spot.

Compiled by Mariette Adams

Photo: Scotsman.com/SNS/SRU

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