SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's Japanese Top League, English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, which involved South African players.
JAPANESE TOP LEAGUE
– Former Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies kicked the NTT Communications Shining Arcs to a vital 29-26 victory against Yamaha Jubilo. Jantjies kicked two conversions before nailing the match-winning penalty.
– Ex-Cheetahs duo Riaan Viljoen and Heinrich Brüssow started for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in their 31-24 loss to flyhalf Louis Fouché's Ricoh Black Rams. Centre Johann Sadie joined his former Cheetahs teammates in the 73rd minute. Brüssow scored a try in a losing cause.
– The Kobe Kobelco Steelers, with former Bok and Stormers teammates Andries Bekker (lock) and Jaque Fourie (centre) in their run-on team, played to a 24-24 draw with Toyota Verblitz, who had ex-Sharks flank Jean Deysel in their starting ranks.
– Suntory Sungoliath edged the Kintetsu Liners 31-30. Flank Justin Downey made the winners' starting XV and Bok Schalk Burger played from the 46th minute.
– The Toyota Industries Shuttles beat the Kubota Spears 29-24. Former Sharks flankers Ryan Kankowski (53rd minute) and Keegan Daniel (41st) were used as replacements for the Shuttles and Spears respectively.
– Frans Steyn came off the bench at the start of the second half for the Toshiba Brave Lupus, who thrashed Jacques Potgieter's Sanix Blues 59-21.
– The Panasonic Wild Knights pummelled the NEC Green Rockets 44-21. Bok wing JP Pietersen was used as an impact player by the former from the 70th minute.
– In an exciting clash, Wasps secured a 29-22 victory against Bath. Wasps raced to a 29-0 lead, before Bath fought back with 22 unanswered points, but flank Ashley Johnson and his Wasps teammates did just enough to fend off Bath's late surge to claim the win.
– Ex-Stormers flank Don Armand scored a try for the Exeter Chiefs in their crushing 44-24 win over London Irish. The bonus-point victory moved Exeter back into third position on the Premiership log, after their shock loss to Newcastle last weekend.
– Captain Alistair Hargreaves (lock) led Saracens to a 28-21 victory over rivals Gloucester. Hargreaves, who scored one of three tries, played next to fellow countrymen, centre Brad Barritt, flank Ernst Joubert and hooker Schalk Brits, while scrumhalf Neil de Kock was used as a substitute.
– Lock Sebastian de Chaves was an unused replacement for Leicester in their 22-16 victory against Harlequins at Welford Road. The six-point win is a welcome return to winning ways for Leicester, who lost their previous three matches.
– Lock Rynard Landman's Newport Gwent Dragons slumped to a 24-10 defeat at the hands of Edinburgh. Former EP Kings centre Andries Strauss, eighthman Cornell du Preez, ex-Sharks lock Anton Bresler and front rower WP Nel were on duty for the winners.
– In a scrappy affair in front of their home fans, Treviso narrowly lost 9-6 to Connacht. No 5 lock Corniel van Zyl regained the captaincy duties of Treviso and came up against Quinn Roux as his direct opposite.
– Former Bok fullback Zane Kirchner and ex-Cheetahs hooker Richardt Strauss returned from lengthy injury lay-offs to lift Leinster to a 20-3 away win against Zebre. The Italians have just one victory so far this season and sit 11th on the log, with only Treviso, the second Italian team, in 12th.
– Ulster secured their second victory in as many weeks with a 29-9 win over the Glasgow Warriors. The Belfast-based side called on the services of ex-Sharks fullback Louis Ludik, flank Robbie Diack, lock Franco van der Merwe and prop Wiehahn Herbst, with Rob Herring completing the match-day squad. Ex-Lions eighthman Josh Strauss captained the Warriors.
– Munster subjected the Llanelli Scarlets to their second defeat of the season, clinching 17-6 win in Limerick. Former Stormers wing Gerhard van den Heever, ex-Bulls loose forward CJ Stander and ex-Bok prop BJ Botha made Munster's run-on XV. Lock Johan Snyman started for the Scarlets and was replaced by George Earle in the 53rd minute.
– Meanwhile, De Kock Steenkamp's debut for the Neath-Swansea Ospreys has been delayed until at least next year March, after he raptured his achilles. The good news for the former Stormers lock is that he does not require surgery. Steenkamp signed for the Ospreys earlier this year as a 'time server', with the hope of representing Wales in three years' time.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Wing Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod, locks Hendrik Roodt and Ross Skeate and front rower Albertus Buckle all featured in Grenoble's 26-25 win over Brive. Flank Paul Hauman and flyhalf Riaan Swanepoel started for Brive, who used prop Kevin Buys from the 41st minute.
– Bordeaux thumped Castres 59-7 at the Stade Chaban Delams, with locks Berend Botha and Jandré Marais starring for the winners. Flank Jannie Bornman represented Castres. Both Bordeaux and Castres' first-choice scrumhalves Heini Adams and Rory Kockott had to watch the game from the stands. Adams will be out of action for at least three weeks after sustaining a concussion against Clermont last weekend. Kockott's injury, and the extent thereof, has not yet come to light, but the French coaching staff will be hoping it is nothing serious after both French kickers Francois Trinh-Duc and Morgan Parra picked up long-term injuries at the weekend.
– La Rochelle, with former Stormers stalwart Peter Grant in their run-on team, slumped to a 30-10 defeat against a Clermont side that welcomed back several stars from injury.
– Lyon continued their strong showing in the Top 14 with a 24-19 win against Bayonne. Former Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie was named in Lyon's starting team and his former teammate at the Stormers, hooker Deon Fourie, joined him in the 54th minute. Prop Gert Muller and fullback Scott Spedding turned out for Bayonne.
– Wynand Olivier started and Robert Ebersohn came of the wood in the 24th minute to help Montpellier to a 25-9 win over Oyonnax. Ebersohn's former teammate at the Cheetahs, fullback Riaan Smit, started for Oyonnax, while ex-Bok Pedrie Wannenburg and former Sharks hooker Jody Jenneker were unused replacements.
– Flyhalf Johan Goosen scored a try and kicked two conversions in the Parisian derby between Racing Métro and Stade Français, but his efforts was not enough as Stade won 23-19. Ex-Bok prop Brian Mujati, locks Juandré Kruger and Francois van der Merwe, flank Bernard le Roux and eighthman Antonie Claassen all earned starting roles alongside Goosen for Racing, with Le Roux and Van der Merwe both yellow-carded in the space of nine minutes. Former Sharks centre Meyer Bosman joined his Stade teammates with 19 minutes left on the clock.
– Toulouse put in a sterling performance to topple log leaders Toulon 21-10. Bok prop Gurthrö Steenkamp started for Toulouse and ex-Bulls scrumhalf Jano Vermaak came on in the 73rd minute. Wing Bryan Habana, flank Juan Smith, lock Bakkies Botha and hooker Craig Burden did service for Toulon with Botha sin-binned in the 30th minute and Habana scoring a five-pointer in the 54th. Scrumhalf Michael Claassens came on for Toulon in the 72nd minute.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Kaori Matsumoto/Japan Rugby Magazine