SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's French Top 14 and Pro D2 matches, involving South African players.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Fullback Scott Spedding bagged a brace in Clermont's nine-try 57-8 demolition of La Rochelle at home. Hooker Marthinus van der Westhuizen and prop Dan Kotzé played off the winners' bench from the 41st and 66th minutes respectively. The result ensures Clermont finish six points clear at the top of the log.
– Brive ended their season on a high with a 46-10 win over Pau. Locks Johan Snyman and Wilhelm Steenkamp as well as prop Kevin Buys turned out for Brive, who retained eighth position. Lock Claude Dry started for the 11th-ranked Pau.
– A fine all-round display by scrumhalf Rory Kockott guided Castres to a 35-14 victory over embattled defending champions Stade Français. Kockott scored 25 of his points via two tries, three conversions and three penalties. Hooker Craig Burden crossed for one of Stade's two tries and flyhalf Morné Steyn converted both. The win secures a place for Castres in the knockout stage of the competition.
– Prop Gert Muller was in the Toulouse team that thrashed hosts Grenoble 53-14. Fullback Gio Aplon and scrumhalf Charl McLeod started for Grenoble. Toulouse came into this round in fifth place and the outcome had no impact on their position in the standings.
– Johan Goosen was in devastating form as he inspired Racing 92 to a 40-25 triumph over Bok-laden Montpellier. Goosen, who has been used primarily at fullback or centre, earned a rare start at flyhalf and made it count as he won his duel with Demetri Catrakilis. He darted through the Montpellier defence to set up his team's first try, while also slotting a conversion and a long-range penalty goal. No 8 Antonie Claassen and locks Bernard le Roux and Juandré Kruger played alongside Goosen for the winners, with Le Roux scoring a try. Prop Jannie, hooker Bismarck and lock Jacques du Plessis, lock Paul Willemse, eighthman Pierre Spies, flyhalf Catrakilis and centre Frans Steyn started for Montpellier, while flank Wiaan Liebenberg and scrumhalf Cameron Wright were substitutes. Catrakilis succeeded with two conversions and two penalties. The result saw Racing draw level with Montpellier on 81 log points. Both teams will hosts a playoff qualifier this weekend.
– Wing Bryan Habana turned out for Toulon, who whacked Bordeaux 44-3. The victory, coupled with the result between Racing and Montpellier, lifted Toulon to second on the log. Lock Jandré Marais was named in Bordeaux's run-on XV, while scrumhalf Heini Adams played off the bench in his last professional match.
– In the basement battle between relegation-bound teams Agen and Oyonnax, the former snatched a 23-19 win. Outside centre Johann Sadie did duty for Agen, who managed to hold on for the win despite conceding a red card in the first half.
French Pro D2
– Bayonne, with flyhalf Willie du Plessis in their starting lineup, narrowly beat Aurilliac in their playoff match to secure promotion to next season's Top 14. After Lyon earned automatic promotion to the Top 14 for finishing at the top of the table, Bayonne (second) and Aurilliac (third) had to do battle for the final promotion spot.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Remy Gabalba/AFP Photo