Saffas in kicking thriller looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches, involving South African players.


– Francois Louw's Bath lost 21-11 to the Leicester Tigers at Welford Road. Leicester lost 47-10 to Bath in their semi-final in May and 45-0 in their first meeting in September, but ended the losing streak in front of their home fans.

– Wasps claimed a comfortable 33-15 bonus-point win over London Irish at Twickenham. Following his excellent performance from the bench against Toulon last week, hooker Ashley Johnson started for Wasps. The Exiles are the only team in the competition who've lost all their matches after five rounds.

– Saracens, with Brad Barritt, Ernst Joubert, Alistair Hargreaves and Schalk Brits in their run-on XV, thrashed the Worcester Warriors 46-18 in the opening game of the double header at Twickenham. Hooker Brits scored one of six tries for the winners, who cemented their place at the top of the log. Centre Wynand Olivier, prop Nic Schonert and No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze started for the Warriors, with Van Velze crossing for one of their two tries. Scrumhalf Neil de Kock sat on Sarries' bench.

– The Exeter Chiefs escaped with a 26-25 triumph over Harlequins, whose replacement kicker Tim Swiel missed a last-gasp penalty attempt. Flank Don Armand started for the Chiefs, who are second on the table.

– Brian Mujati and his Sale Sharks teammates were held to a 15-15 draw by the Newcastle Falcons, who had Mouritz Botha in their match 23. Sale had an opportunity to win it at the end, but the kick was wide.

– Victor Matfield made his debut for the Northampton Saints in their hard-fought 15-3 victory over Gloucester. The result moves Saints up to sixth on the log, while Gloucester slipped to 10th.


– Grenoble succumbed to a 21-19 defeat against Stade Français. Fullback Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and lock Hendrik Roodt turned out for Grenoble, with prop Rossouw de Klerk coming off the bench in the 47th minute. Loosehead prop Heinke van der Merwe and No 8 Jono Ross started for Stade and were joined in the 60th minute by Bok flank Willem Alberts.

– Springbok eighthman Duane Vermeulen played from start to finish for Toulon, who crushed Clermont 35-9. Toulon ran in four unanswered tries to claim their first-ever win at Clermont's Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin stadium. Fullback Scott Spedding and No 5 lock Flip van der Merwe represented Clermont for the full 80 minutes. Toulon moved to within two log points of their victims and are one behind second-placed Racing.

– Jacques du Plessis partnered Paul Willemse as Montpellier's lock pairing in their 25-20 win against La Rochelle. The duo was joined in the starting team by centre Robert Ebersohn and flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis, who contributed 20 points via six penalties and a conversion. Props Pat Cilliers and CJ van der Linde were among Montpellier's substitutes. Former Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie did service for La Rochelle.

– Agen flyhalf Burton Francis outscored scrumhalf Rory Kockott 18 points to 13, but it was the latter who inspired his team, Castres, to a hard-fought 23-18 away win. Francis kicked six penalties, while Kockott's haul came via three penalty goals and two conversions. Outside centre Johann Sadie and lock Marco Kotzé featured alongside Francis for Agen, while prop Ruaan du Preez played in the last 15 minutes. 

– Toulouse were beaten 28-13 by Racing in an entertaining clash at Stade Yves-du-Manoir. Fullback Johan Goosen and lock Francois van der Merwe were on duty for the winners and No 8 Antonie Claassen had a five-minute cameo. Prop Gurthrö Steenkamp scrummed down for Toulouse in the first half before being replaced early in the second.

– No 8 Petrus Hauman scored one of three tries as Brive cruised to a 34-9 win over Oyonnax. Prop Kevin Buys and locks Johan Snyman and Peet Marais started for Brive, with Marais replaced by Wilhelm Steenkamp in the 76th minute. Pedrie Wannenburg was on the side of the scrum for Oyonnax and Jody Jenneker in the front row. Brive are fifth on the log and Oyonnax 14th.

– Outscored six tries to one, Pau were demolished 46-10 by the Bordeaux-Begles. Pau's No 5 lock Claude Dry was up against Jandré Marais, and when the latter left the field shortly after the break, Berend Botha came on for Bordeaux. Former Stormers prop Steven Kitshoff also featured for the winners from the 48th minute.


– Zebre fought valiantly, but were defeated 20-12 by hosts the Llanelli Scarlets. No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk scored a brace of tries but it wasn't enough to get the Italian team over the line. Van Schalkwyk started alongside wing Kayle van Zyl. Wing DTH van der Merwe and lock George Earle did service for the Scarlets.

– A late try gave Connacht a thrilling 18-12 victory over hosts Munster in their top of the table clash. The result ends Connacht's 29-year wait for an away win at Thomond Park. Gerhard van den Heever (wing), CJ Stander (flank) and BJ Botha (prop) all played for Munster, who dropped to third in the standings, while Connacht consolidated their position at the summit.

– Utility back Hanno Dirksen started at inside centre for the Neath-Swansea Ospreys, who defeated the Cardiff Blues 13-6. This was the Ospreys' third win of the campaign and the Blues' seventh loss in eight rounds.

– Fullback Zane Kirchner's Leinster saw off Ulster 8-3 in a dull contest at RDS Arena. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, flank Robbie Diack and prop Wiehahn Herbst completed Ulster's team, while hooker Rob Herring and fullback Louis Ludik made appearances off the bench. Ulster's fourth defeat saw them slip to seventh.

– Edinburgh brushed aside the Newport-Gwent Dragons 32-13 at Murrayfield. The ill-disciplined Dragons conceded four tries and four yellow cards. Prop WP Nel and eighthman Cornell du Preez were in the Edinburgh run-on XV, with Nel scoring the opening try. Fullback Carl Meyer and lock Ligtoring Landman started for the Dragons.

– Treviso, with No 8 Braam Steyn in their ranks, suffered a 13-6 defeat against the Glasgow Warriors. Former Lions captain Josh Strauss was among the Warriors reserves to be used as an impact player in the final quarter. The win lifted the Warriors to fifth on the log.

Compiled by Mariette Adams

Photo: Romain Perrocheau/AFP Photo

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