SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches, involving South African players.
– Gloucester beat the Sale Sharks 23-19 to record their third win of the season. For Sale, who had Brian Mujati among their reserves, it was a third defeat.
– The Leicester Tigers overturned a 17-point deficit to defeat the Worcester Warriors 29-20 at Sixways Stadium. Centre Wynand Olivier started for the Warriors and scored the first try. However, the hosts conceded three yellow cards and a red card and Leicester capitalised on their ill-discipline to secure a thrilling come-from-behind bonus-point victory.
– Francois Louw and his Bath teammates slumped to yet another defeat, this time losing 13-11 to Victor Matfield's Northampton Saints. Bath held a one-point lead going into the final 10 minutes, but were penalised at a scrum and the Saints flyhalf converted the kick.
– Former Bok hooker Ashley Johnson powered over for one of three Wasps tries, but it wasn't enough as they crashed to a 41-27 defeat against the Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena. The bonus-point win keeps the Chiefs in second position on the log, while Wasps drop to sixth.
– Saracens, with prop Petrus du Plessis, flank Michael Rhodes and scrumhalf Neil de Kock in their ranks, thrashed the Newcastle Falcons 38-3 at Kingston Park. Former Saracens stalwart Mouritz Botha was on the Falcons bench. Saracens are the only team in the Premiership with a perfect record to date.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Antonie Claassen and Bernard le Roux completed Racing's back-row in their 15-15 draw with hosts Pau. Neither side was able to score a try as the game played out in a shootout with five penalties apiece.
– The star-studded Toulon hammered Agen 53-23 at the Stade Felix-Mayol to move up to second in the standings. Bok No 8 Duane Vermeulen earned a starting berth for the winners, while lock Marco Kotzé, flyhalf Burton Francis and outside centre Johann Sadie turned out for Agen. Sadie dashed over for one of two Agen tries and Francis kicked two conversions and three penalties, but Toulon were just too strong on the day, running in eight tries, including one from replacement Bryan Habana.
– La Rochelle, with Ricky Januarie at scrumhalf, cruised past Grenoble 33-16. Fullback Gio Aplon, lock Hendrik Roodt and tighthead prop Rossouw de Klerk represented Grenoble, with De Klerk barging over for their only try of the game. The result takes La Rochelle one spot above Grenoble on the log.
– Rory Kockott added a conversion and three penalty goals to guide Castres to a 34-19 victory over Montpellier. Demetri Catrakilis, Jacques du Plessis and Paul Willemse were in Montpellier's lineup, but it was Bismarck du Plessis, who made his debut off the bench, who crashed over the line for their only try. Catrakilis converted the try after knocking over four first-half penalties. Centre Robert Ebersohn and prop Pat Cilliers were also used as impact players by Montpellier.
– A late intercept try by former Bulls scrumhalf Heini Adams saw Bordeaux surprise champions Stade Français 24-21 in Paris. Steven Kitshoff and Jandré Marais played alongside Adams for the winners, while Jono Ross did service for Stade. Lock Berend Botha came on as a substitute for Bordeaux in the second half, as did flank Willem Alberts, hooker Craig Burden and prop Heinke van der Merwe for Stade. Flyhalf Morné Steyn was an unused reserve. Bordeaux are now sixth in the standings and Stade Français 11th.
– Flank Pedrie Wannenburg and hooker Jody Jenneker were on duty for Oyonnax, who went down 27-3 against Toulouse. Oyonnax opened the scoring in the second minute, but Toulouse dominated thereafter to clinch a comprehensive victory. Toulouse are level on points with Toulon, but the are third on the log because Toulon have a greater points difference.
– Clermont claimed a hard-fought 26-21 win against Brive, despite conceding two yellow cards (one in each half). Prop Dan Kotzé, hooker Marthinus van der Westhuizen and fullback Scott Spedding donned the yellow jersey of Clermont, while flank Paul Hauman and locks Peet Marais and Johan Snyman turned out for the hosts. Clermont are one point clear of Toulon and Toulouse at the top of the table.
– Wing Kayle van Zyl's brace of tries weren't enough for Zebre against the Neath-Swansea Ospreys, who won 39-22 at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi. Van Zyl featured alongside back rowers Johan Meyer and Dries van Schalkwyk for Zebre, who scored three tries and conceded five. Utility back Hanno Dirksen enjoyed a 20-minute cameo for the Ospreys.
– Ligtoring Landman captained the Newport Gwent Dragons to a 22-6 victory over Munster, whose downward slide continues. Landman, featuring alongside compatriots Carl Meyer (fullback), Sarel Pretorius (scrumhalf) and Brok Harris (prop), led from the front and scored the only try of the match. Ex-Stormers wing Gerhard van den Heever played nine minutes for Munster. The win saw the Dragons complete a clean sweep of victories for all Welsh regions in this round.
– The Llanelli Scarlets withstood a late onslaught to edge Benetton Treviso 22-20 at the Stadio Monigo. Wing DTH van der Merwe crossed for one of the Scarlets' three tries before Treviso threatened to mount a comeback. However, solid defence in the closing stages saw the visitors hold on for the win. The result extends Treviso's losing streak in the league to 16 matches.
– Ulster returned to winning ways with a 14-7 triumph over Edinburgh. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, lock Franco van der Merwe and hooker Rob Herring completed the winners' run-on XV, while Louis Ludik was shifted to the bench following last week's defeat to Leinster. Prop WP Nel, lock Anton Bresler and No 8 Cornell du Preez started for Edinburgh, with Du Preez accounting for the team's only try.
– The struggling Cardiff Blues caused the upset of the weekend when they defeated high-flying Connacht 20-16 at the Arms Park. No 4 lock Quinn Roux represented the injury-ravaged Connacht, who relinquished the position at the summit of the table to the Scarlets.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Pro12rugby.com/Camerasport/Craig Thomas