SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Premiership, Top 14, Pro14 and Major Rugby League matches involving South African players.
– Cobus Reinach scored his 10th try of the season as the Northampton Saints claimed an impressive 29-15 win over the struggling Leicester Tigers, who are now just four points off the bottom of the table. Reinach made 22m from nine carries and two turnovers. Loosehead prop Francois van Wyk also started for the Saints, but was replaced just after half-time.
– The Worcester Warriors survived a late comeback from the Bristol Bears to claim what could be a vital 27-25 victory in their attempts to stave off relegation. Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, prop Nic Schonert and lock Anton Bresler all starred for the Warriors, with Hougaard making an impressive 16 tackles, while Schonert and Bresler made 27 between them.
– Gloucester boosted their playoff hopes by beating Wasps 27-14. Ruan Ackermann scored one of Gloucester’s three tries as they overturned an 11-point deficit. Ackermann was joined in the Gloucester pack by hooker Franco Marais, lock Franco Mostert and fellow loose forward Jaco Kriel. Mostert was sent to the sin bin in the second half for a shoulder charge at a ruck. Wasps had fullback Willie le Roux, centre Juan de Jongh and flank Nizaam Carr in their starting lineup. Ashley Johnson replaced Carr with 10 minutes to go.
– Schalk Burger got on the scoresheet as Saracens stayed in second place thanks to a 27-20 win against Harlequins. In an impressive 51 minutes from the veteran, Burger made 12 carries and started the second-half fightback by powering over from short range just after half-time. Vincent Koch started for Saracens, but was forced off just after the half-hour mark due to a concussion. Flank Renaldo Botha made his Harlequins comeback from a lengthy suspension off the bench, while Demetri Catrakilis was an unused substitute.
– The accuracy of Faf de Klerk‘s boot was not enough to prevent the Sale Sharks from slumping to a 22-17 loss to relegation favourites the Newcastle Falcons. De Klerk converted both of Sale’s tries and added a penalty, while also making 50m with ball in hand. Rohan Janse van Rensburg had a quiet game in the Sharks’ midfield, only managing nine carries, while captain Jono Ross made 18 tackles and won a turnover. Hooker Kyle Cooper came off the bench for Newcastle, who are now three points away from climbing off the bottom of the table.
– Don Armand and the Exeter Chiefs continued their good form by beating Bath 29-10. Armand made 17 tackles and one turnover in 65 minutes on the openside flank. His direct opponent, Springbok Francois Louw, almost equalled those numbers with 12 tackles and a turnover. The Chiefs continue to lead the standings by nine points, with five rounds to go.
– No 8 Uzair Cassiem and tighthead prop Werner Kruger were in the Scarlets side that slumped to a 41-17 derby defeat against rivals the Cardiff Blues.
– Benetton Treviso’s eight-game unbeaten streak came to an end when they suffered a 29-14 loss to Connacht. Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenhage and lock Irné Herbst were in Treviso’s run-on XV, with Duvenhage scoring one of their two tries.
– Edinburgh, with wing Duhan van der Merwe, flyhalf Jaco van der Walt and props WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman in their ranks, stunned competition front-runners Leinster 28-11. Nel scored Edinburgh’s opening try and Van der Walt kicked two conversions. Schoeman was replaced by compatriot Allan Dell in the 68th minute.
– The Ospreys beat the Dragons 29-20 in a thrilling encounter at the Liberty Stadium. Wing Hanno Dirksen and prop Tom Botha were starters for the winners. The Dragons went into the game with Jarryd Sage at inside centre and Brok Harris at loosehead prop.
– Munster, featuring CJ Stander and Chris Cloete in their loose trio, had to come from behind to beat a stubborn Zebre side 31-12 at Thomond Park. Cloete, who was yellow-carded in the 56th minute, was replaced by his countryman Arno Botha immediately after serving his 10 minutes in the sin bin. Lock Jean Kleyn came on for Munster in the second half, while flyhalf Francois Brummer and hooker Luhandré Luus were used as impact players off the bench by Zebre.
– Springbok flank Marcell Coetzee scored a try in his first game in over two months for Ulster during their 33-19 win over the Kings. Fullback Louis Ludik, hooker Rob Herring and prop Wiehahn Herbst also played for Ulster. Ludik was carried off in the ninth minute due to an injury.
– Centre Kyle Steyn and prop Oli Kebble starred for the Glasgow Warriors in their 35-17 bonus-point win over the Cheetahs. Former Griquas captain Steyn was excellent in the Warriors’ midfield, scoring a try and assisting another.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Racing 92 brushed aside the Bordeaux-Begles to claim a 45-27 win in Paris. Loose forwards Bernard le Roux and Antonie Claassen did service for Racing, with the former scoring his team’s first try of what was an ill-disciplined game that produced three yellow cards and a red. Racing moved up to fourth and Bordeaux dropped to sixth.
– Flank Wiaan Liebenberg and his La Rochelle teammates lost 23-19 against log-leaders Toulouse at home. Flank Rynhardt Elstadt and prop Maks van Dyk were on duty for Toulouse, who are now seven points clear at the top of the table.
– Montpellier battled to a 24-13 victory against hosts Pau. Bismarck du Plessis, Jacques du Plessis, Paul Willemse, Jan Serfontein and Henry Immelman started for Montpellier, with Jacques du Plessis crashing over for one of three tries. Lourens Adriaanse came on in the 31st minute to boost Pau’s front row.
– Clermont clinched a comfortable 28-13 triumph over relegation-threatened Agen. Lock Jaco van Tonder was on the second-placed Clermont’s bench, and scrumhalf Ricky Januarie was an Agen reserve.
– Stade Français upset Castres to move within three log points of their victims. Morné Steyn, Willem Alberts, Hendré Stassen and Piet van Zyl turned out for Stade. Castres called on the services of Scott Spedding, Robert Ebersohn, Rory Kockott and Jody Jenneker for this match.
– Perpignan defeated Grenoble 22-16 in their bottom-of-the-log relegation scrap. Prop Gert Muller was among the Perpignan substitutes. Prop Jacobus Janse van Rensburg earned a start for Grenoble and lock Francois Uys was a second-half replacement.
– Lyon outlasted Toulon to claim an entertaining 42-33 win. Locks Hendrik Roodt and Deon Fourie, and prop Albertus Buckle played for Lyon. Ex-Springbok JP Pietersen started and scored a try for Toulon, who also had prop Marcel van der Merwe in their ranks. Toulon are languishing in 10th position on the log.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY
– The JP Eloff-captained Nola Gold stayed on top of the standings by beating the Austin Elite 35-31. The fullback set up the Gold’s first try with a good wide pass to the wing. Eloff was joined in the Gold’s starting lineup by loosehead prop Hubert Buydens.
Try Time for the Gold! Eloff ➡️Maupin to dot it down.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) March 23, 2019
– Durban-born Germany No 8 Ayron Schramm was on the bench for the Houston Sabercats as they claimed a 29-27 away win against the Utah Warriors. The Warriors had loosehead prop Franco van den Berg in their starting lineup.
– Second-placed Rugby United New York kept in touch with the top of the table by defeating the Glendale Raptors 31-19. Flank Hanco Germishuys, scrumhalf and captain Shaun Davies and centres Robbie Petzer and Chad London all turned out for the Raptors. Petzer and Davies scored second-half tries to bring the Raptors back into the match after they had trailed 24-7 at the break.
Compiled by Dylan Jack & Mariette Adams