SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Pro14 and French Top 14 matches involving South African players.
– Gloucester brushed aside a poor Harlequins team with a 37-9 bonus-point victory in Kingsholm. No 8 Ruan Ackermann came off the bench and scored the vital fourth try for the home side, allowing them to stay in the hunt for a playoff place.
– The Exeter Chiefs continued their charge towards the top of the table, thrashing London Irish 45-5. Flank Don Armand started for the Chiefs, who scored six tries in a dominant performance. Scrumhalf Piet van Zyl and lock duo Sebastian de Chaves and captain Franco van der Merwe started for London Irish, who brought prop Petrus du Plessis off the bench in the second half.
– Wasps recovered from their loss to Sale as they beat the Worcester Warriors 30-15. Fullback Willie le Roux was in great form for Wasps, setting up one of their four tries, while Juan de Jonghstarted at outside centre for the hosts. Gerrit-Jan van Velze captained the Warriors, who had prop Nick Schonert at loosehead prop, as well as hooker Kurt Haupt and wing Dean Hammond on the bench.
– Cobus Reinach was at the centre of the action for the Northampton Saints in their 27-21 win against the Leicester Tigers. The scrumhalf’s charged-down clearance allowed the Saints to take the lead by scoring a try and setting up another, allowing the visitors to claim a shock victory.
– Saracens all but booked their place in the playoffs with an equally dominant 41-6 victory against Bath. Schalk Brits was the opening try-scorer, going in off the back of a maul, while Schalk Burgergrabbed a try in the second half, pouncing on a loose ball after a massive hit from substitute Michael Rhodes. Centre Brad Barritt also started for Saracens, while Francois Louw was in Bath’s starting XV.
– Edinburgh displayed their potential as title challengers, beating the Scarlets 52-14. Wing Duhan van der Merwe scored two of Edinburgh’s eight tries, while flyhalf Jaco van der Walt and No 8 Cornell du Preez were also in Edinburgh’s starting lineup. Lock David Bulbring and prop Werner Kruger both started for the Scarlets.
– Treviso produced the performance of the round with a stunning 17-15 defeat of Conference B leaders Leinster. Hooker Richardt Strauss opened the scoring with a try for Leinster. Lock Irné Herbst came off the bench for the Italians, who kept themselves in touch with fourth-placed Ulster.
– Munster came back from 14-0 down to beat the Cheetahs 19-17 in Bloemfontein. Lock Gerbrant Grobler started for Munster, who remain in second place in Conference A.
– Johan Meyer scored a crucial try for Zebre, helping them defeat fellow strugglers the Dragons 34-32. Hooker Luhandré Luus was also in Zebre’s starting XV, while fullback Zane Kirchner and flank Ligtoring Landman were involved for the Dragons.
– Glasgow nearly let a 30-8 lead slip as they beat Connacht 35-22. Experienced wing DTH van der Merwe set up the Warriors’ first try of the match. Former Stormers lock Quinn Roux did duty for Connacht.
– Ulster edged the Ospreys 8-0 in a turgid match. Wing Louis Ludik and flank Jean Deysel both started for Ulster, while Hanno Dirksen started on the left wing for the Ospreys.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Cheslin Kolbe (wing) and his ex-Stormers teammate Rynhardt Elstadt (flank) turned out for Toulouse, who registered a commanding 42-27 win over Racing 92 to climb above their victims to second position. Antonie Claassen started at the back of the scrum for Racing.
– Captain Duane Vermeulen led Toulon to a stunning 32-17 win over the log leaders Montpellier. Lock Juandré Kruger and prop Marcel van der Merwe started alongside Vermeulen for the winners. No 4 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and fullback Henry Immelman were in Montpellier’s run-on XV, while Ruan Pienaar and Paul Willemse were on the bench.
– Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie and his Agen teammates beat hosts Pau 33-22. The victory is crucial to Agen’s bid to stay up in the Top 14.
– James Hall (scrumhalf) and Steven Sykes (flank) were part of the Oyonnax side that thrashed Brive 40-17. The win lifts Oyonnax above Brive, who are now last on the log. Second-row duo Johan Snyman and Peet Marais started for Brive, with Snyman replaced by compatriot Jan Uys in the 50th minute.
– Clermont, featuring locks Flip van der Merwe and Jaco van Tonder, hammered Bordeaux 33-3 at home to move from 10th position to ninth on the log. Van Tonder scored one of Clermont’s three tries. Tian Schoeman and Jandré Marais were used as substitutes by Bordeaux.
– Stade Français, with Bok duo Morné Steyn and Willem Alberts in their ranks, slumped to a humiliating 44-3 defeat at the hands of Lyon. Steyn was yellow-carded in the 20th minute. Locks Etienne Oosthuizen and Hendrik Roodt represented Lyon, who are sitting comfortably in fifth place on the table.
– Castres, with their South African contingent of Robert Ebersohn (centre), Rory Kockott(scrumhalf), Dan Kötze (prop) and Jody Jenneker, were too strong for hosts La Rochelle as they clinched a 26-18 victory. The win elevates Castres up to sixth (the final playoff spot) in the standings.
Compiled by Mariette Adams & Dylan Jack