SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s European Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup matches involving South African players.
– La Rochelle finished top of the pool and thus secured a home quarter-final after claiming a nervy 16-7 win over Harlequins at home. Centre Paul Jordaan started for the winners, while Tim Swiel, who formerly played alongside Jordaan for the Sharks, started on the wing for Harlequins.
– Wasps – with Willie le Roux, Juan de Jongh, Nizaam Carr and Ashley Johnson in their ranks – registered a 26-7 victory over an error-prone Ulster side with Louis Ludik, Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst in it. Le Roux played well for Wasps and scored a try in the second half, while Carr featured in his last match before returning to the Stormers. However, both sides failed to advance to the last eight.
– The Ospreys were eliminated after losing 24-7 to Clermont, who topped the pool. Clermont used fullback Scott Spedding as an impact player in the second half. Wing Hanno Dirksen started for the Ospreys.
– Saracens thrashed the Northampton Saints 62-14 to stay in the competition and after several results went in their favour, the reigning champions snuck through to the quarter-finals as one of the three best runners-up qualifiers. Centre Brad Barritt, No 8 Schalk Burger and prop Vincent Koch were in Saracens’ starting lineup, with Koch crossing for a try. Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach (who scored a try), flank David Ribbans and prop Francois van Wyk were on duty for the Saints.
– Montpellier were knocked out of the competition following a 23-14 defeat against Leinster at the Altrad Stadium. Frans Steyn and Jan Serfontein were Montpellier’s centre pairing, while Ruan Pienaar was at scrumhalf, Nicholaas van Rensburg at No 4 and Bismarck du Plessis at hooker. Du Plessis scored a try.
– Star flank Don Armand scored one of three tries, but his effort was in vain as the Exeter Chiefs slumped to a shock 28-21 defeat at the hands of the Glasgow Warriors. Both teams’ Champions Cup campaign is over.
– Munster marched into the quarter-finals after hammering Castres 48-3 at Thomond Park. Forwards CJ Stander, Chris Cloete and Jean Kleyn were in Munster’s run-on XV. Centre Rob Ebersohn, No 9 Rory Kockott and hooker Jody Jenneker turned out for Castres.
– The Scarlets, featuring lock David Bulbring and prop Werner Kruger, progressed to the quarter-finals after a thrilling 30-27 triumph over Toulon, who also advanced to the next round as one of the best three runners-up across all the pools. Bok quartet Duane Vermeulen, JP Pietersen, Juandré Kruger and Marcel van der Merwe starred for Toulon, with captain Vermeulen burrowing over for a crucial try.
– Bath also crashed out of the competition despite beating Treviso 47-28. Irné Herbst and Braam Steyn did service for Treviso. Hooker Michael van Vuuren sat on Bath’s bench.
– The Dragons stole second place in Pool 1 with a 33-17 win against Bordeaux. Fullback Carl Meyer, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and lock Ligtoring Landman started for the Dragons. Wing Pat Howard came off the bench and scored a try to seal the win for the Welsh region. Jandré Marais captained Bordeaux, while Tian Schoeman came off the bench and kicked a conversion for the French side.
– The Cardiff Blues finished the round-robin stage with fives wins from six games after beating Lyon 21-18 to book a place in the last eight. Locks Francois van der Merwe and Hendrik Roodt started for Lyon, who were knocked out of the tournament.
– Toulouse secured second place in Pool 2 but missed out on a quarter-final spot after beating Sale 28-21. Props Danie Mienie and Maks van Dyk started for the winners, with Van Dyk powering over the line to open the scoring for the French team. Jono Ross captained Sale, who failed to progress to the quarter-final stage.
– Lourens Adriaanse started and scored a try for Pau in their 34-24 upset win against Gloucester. The result clinched Pau a home quarter-final as they finished top of Pool 3.
– Flank Johan Meyer scored for Zebre as they recorded their first Challenge Cup win with a 38-30 victory against Agen. Derick Minnie came off the bench for Zebre.
– London Irish, led by flank Sebastian de Chaves, came back from 17-7 down to record a 24-17 win against Krasny Yar. The result wasn’t enough to clinch Irish a spot in the quarters as they finished third in the pool on 16 points.
– Stade Français snuck into the quarter-finals after ending Edinburgh’s perfect record with a 17-10 victory over the Scottish side. Scrumhalf Charl McLeod started for Stade, who included hooker Craig Burden and prop Heinke van der Merwe on the bench. Wing Duhan van der Merwe, flyhalf Jaco van der Walt and No 8 Cornell du Preez all played for Edinburgh.
– Quinn Roux started for Connacht as they finished their Pool 5 campaign unbeaten following a 50-14 victory against Oyonnax. Scrumhalf James Hall started for the French team and kicked a conversion on the verge of half-time.
– Brive secured a quarter-final place after beating the Worcester Warriors 33-7. Lock Johan Snyman and Jan Uys both started for Brive. Worcester were led by No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, and Kurt Haupt was the starting hooker.
Compiled by Mariette Adams and Dylan Jack
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images