SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, which involved South African players.
– Saracens overpowered the Sale Sharks to claim a comfortable 40-19 bonus-point win to extend their 100% record this season. Scrumhalf Neil de Kock, flank Ernst Joubert and lock Mouritz Botha all made the run-on XV, alongside their captain and centre Brad Barritt. Joubert grabbed one of Sarries’ four tries and prop Petrus du Plessis benched for the winners.
– Lock Sebastian de Chaves played for Leicester, who suffered their second successive defeat, this time a 22-19 loss at home against London Irish. Level with a minute on the clock, Irish nailed a late penalty to seal the famous victory.
– Ashley Johnson and his London Wasps teammates returned to winning ways with a 35-18 bonus-point victory over the Newcastle Falcons at Adams Park.
– The Exeter Chiefs scored a convincing 36-13 win against the Harlequins, their first home victory since March, to remain fourth on the Premiership log. Former Stormers lock Don Armand was included in the winning side’s match-day squad.
– Lock Ben Pienaar came off the bench to score a try for London Welsh, but couldn't prevent his team from slumping to a 46-10 loss against Gloucester at the Kassam Stadium. The margin of defeat brings an unwanted record for Welsh, as they become the first Premiership team to concede 40-plus points in four consecutive matches.
– The match between Edinburgh and the Llanelli Scarlets at Murrayfield ended in a 20-20 stalemate. Lock Johan Snyman’s Scarlets led with 10 minutes to go, but once they were reduced to 14 men, Edinburgh, with centre Andries Strauss, eighthman Cornell du Preez and lock Anton Bresler in their team, pounced with a late converted effort, resulting in the draw. Prop WP Nel was on the field too for Edinburgh, but he was used as a substitute.
– Wing DTH van der Merwe scored as the Glasgow Warriors continued their merry ways with a 39-21 bonus-point win over Connacht. Wing Danie Poolman and lock Quinn Roux represented Connacht, while prop Rossouw de Klerk sat on the bench for the Warriors.
– Ex-Stormers wing Gerhard van den Heever marked his comeback from injury with a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to secure a home win for Munster, who went down 19-14 to the Neath-Swansea Ospreys. Former Bulls flank CJ Stander and ex-Bok prop BJ Botha started alongside Van den Heever. Reynier Bernardo was included in the winners’ run-on team and the lanky lock spent 10 minutes in the sin bin, while wing Hanno Dirksen was used as an impact player off the wood.
– Zebre stunned Ulster 13-6 in Parma, to record their first win of the season. The team from Ravenhill had to play with 14 men for 70 minutes after their prop was given a straight red card inside the first 10 minutes. Ulster, with lock Franco van der Merwe, hooker Rob Herring and prop Wiehahn Herbst in their lineup, never really recovered and could only muster two penalties. Ex-Cheetahs fullback Hennie Daniller, and locks Quintin Geldenhuys and Andries Ferreira along with their Italian teammates took full advantage of the situation with a converted try, a penalty and a drop goal.
– With No 5 lock Rynhardt Landman in their starting XV, the Newport Gwent Dragons claimed the scalp of Benetton Treviso with a 33-15 victory. It was their first win of the new season and they’ll be hoping to build from their bonus-point victory, while Treviso remain the only unsuccessful team thus far, lingering in 12th place.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Clermont extended their stay at the summit of the Top 14 table with a 19-8 win over Oyonnax. Prop Daniel Kötze came off the bench in the 67th minute for Clermont. Jody Jenneker wore the No 2 jersey of Oyonnax, while former Bok Pedrie Wannenburg started on the side of the scrum. Prop Ruaan du Preez joined the SA duo from the 50th minute.
– Second-placed Toulon closed the gap between them and Clermont with a crushing 40-17 bonus-point victory over Montpellier. Centres Robert Ebersohn and Wynand Olivier started in the midfield for the losers, while Bok flank Juan Smith turned out for the current champions. Hooker Craig Burden sat on Toulon's bench.
– Toulouse suffered a fifth successive defeat, after Bayonne toppled them 35-19. Fullback Scott Spedding and prop Gert Muller did service for Bayonne with front-rower JC Janse van Rensburg entering the fray in the 63rd minute.
– Castres were demoted to the bottom of the table after they slumped to a shock 28-18 defeat against newcomers Lyon. Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie earned a starting berth for Lyon and chipped in with a touchdown, while his opposite number, Rory Kockott, kicked a conversion for Castres after coming on in the 55th minute.
– Stade Français outscored La Rochelle seven tries to one to climb to third on the log. Former Sharks centre Meyer Bosman played from the 54th minute for Stade, while hooker Erasmus van Vuuren, lock Cobus Grobler and flyhalf Peter Grant turned out for the losing side.
– Lock Paul Hauman was in the Brive run-on XV which stunned Bordeaux 34-24. He was joined by prop Kevin Buys, utility back Riaan Swanepoel and prop Johannes Coetzee in the 41st, 43rd and 59th minutes respectively. Bordeaux second rower Berend Botha came on as a replacement in the 41st and was yellow-carded two minutes later.
– Despite being handed two yellow cards, Grenoble ran out narrow 27-25 victors against Racing Métro. Lock Hendrik Roodt and scrumhalf Charl McLeod were on duty for the winners, with the former sin-binned and the latter scoring one of three tries. Locks Juandré Kruger and Francois van der Merwe started in tandem for Racing, while Johan Goosen played fullback. Props Albertus Buckle and Brian Mujati were used as substitutes from the 40th and 50th minutes by Grenoble and Racing respectively.
Photo: Jean-Phileppe Ksiazek/AFP Photo