SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, involving South African players.
– Captain Francois Louw led Bath to a thrilling 38-27 bonus-point win over arch-rivals the Leicester Tigers to end their season on a high. Louw scored one of his team's five tries. Lock Sebastian de Chaves started for the Tigers, who finished fourth on the table to progress to the semi-finals.
– Lock Victor Matfield ended his illustrious career on a high when the Northampton Saints beat Gloucester 28-20 at the Kingsholm Stadium. Neither team managed to reach the playoffs, with Saints ending fifth on the log and Gloucester eighth.
– The Sale Sharks, with prop Brian Mujati in their ranks, defeated the Newcastle Falcons 21-15 to secure a place in the top six. The Falcons ended 11th.
– Wasps wrapped up a convincing 38-12 bonus-point victory over London Irish at the Ricoh Arena to finish third. Ashley Johnson, who has been predominantly used as an impact player off the bench this season, was given a rare start and played excellently. The hooker went on a surging 30m run to set up Wasps' second try, before dotting down himself in the second half.
– Saracens, featuring scrumhalf Neil de Kock and tighthead prop Petrus du Plessis, hammered the Worcester Warriors 43-19 at Sixways Stadium. Tighthead prop Nic Schonert played for the Warriors, who remained in 10th spot. Saracens had already secured top spot last week and this victory only helped them maintain their six-point advantage over the second-placed Exeter Chiefs.
Saracens vs Leicester Tigers
Exeter Chiefs vs Wasps
– Lock Quinn Roux and his Connacht teammates battled to a 14-7 victory over the Glasgow Warriors, to pip their victims to second place on the log. No 8 Josh Strauss represented the Warriors, who will now have to travel to Connacht again for their semi-final clash.
– Inside centre Andries Strauss, No 8 Cornell du Preez, lock Anton Bresler and tighthead prop WP Nel were part of the Edinburgh team that lost 21-17 against the Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield. Both teams failed to make the playoffs.
– Leinster secured an emphatic 50-19 bonus-point win against Treviso to move from third to first on the log. Hooker Richardt Strauss scored two of Leinster's seven tries, while Braam Steyn started at the back of the scrum for Treviso, who ended the season at the foot of the table. Leinster finished level on points with Connacht, but a greater points difference saw them snatch top spot.
– Munster secured a top-six finish with a 31-15 win against the Scarlets at Thomond Park. No 8 CJ Stander started and scored for the winners. Lock David Bulbring was in the Scarlets run-on XV. After being the form team for the majority of the season, the Welsh club's recent slump saw them missing out on a place in the semi-finals.
– Ulster scored six tries in their 46-26 triumph over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium. Lock Rynier Bernardo started for the Ospreys. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, locks Franco van der Merwe and Robbie Diack and hooker Rob Herring were on duty for the winners, who will face Leinster in the semi-finals.
– Fullback Ulrich Beyers, wing Kayle van Zyl, No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk, flank Johan Meyer and locks Quintin Geldenhuys and Gideon Koegelenberg all starred for Zebre in their crushing 47-22 bonus-point win against the Newport Gwent Dragons. Lock Ligtoring Landman, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and fullback Carl Meyer did service for the Dragons, with Landman scoring a brace of tries. Van Zyl crossed for one of Zebres' five tries.
Leinster vs Ulster
Connacht vs Glasgow Warriors
FRENCH TOP 14
– Bordeaux, featuring prop Steven Kitshoff and lock Jandré Marais, beat Grenoble 20-14 to move into a playoff spot with three rounds remaining. Fullback Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and prop Rossouw de Klerk started for Grenoble.
– Clermont, with Scott Spedding at fullback, Dan Kotzé at tighthead prop and hooker Marthinus van der Westhuizen in their team, edged hosts Pau 16-10 to increase their lead at the summit of the standings.
– Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie scored one of four tries for La Rochelle, who beat a second-string Montpellier 36-10 at home. Prop Pat Cilliers and inside centre Robert Ebersohn did service for Montpellier, with Jannie du Plessis replacing Cilliers in the 70th minute. Hooker Arno van Wyk and scrumhalf Cameron Wright were also used off the bench in the second half.
– Flank Jono Ross started and scored for Stade Français in their 69-8 humiliation of Oyonnax in Paris. Hooker Craig Burden and flyhalf Morné Steyn were second-half substitutes for Stade, with Steyn knocking over three conversions.
– Brive upset Racing 33-27 in a match where the referee handed out five yellow cards. Flank Paul Hauman, lock Johan Snyman and prop Kevin Buys did service for the victors with Snyman being sent off in the fifth minute before returning to score a try in the 35th minute. Wing Sean Robinson and lock Juandré Kruger earned rare starting berths for Racing, who are now fourth in the standings.
– Centre Johann Sadie scored a try and flyhalf Burton Francis kicked the conversion, but it wasn't enough as Agen slumped to 52-19 defeat at the hands of Toulouse. Lock Marco Kotzé played alongside Sadie and Francis for Agen, who will be relegated at the end of the season. Gurthrö Steenkamp played for Toulouse from the 44th minute.
– Eighthman Duane Vermeulen and flank Juan Smith were in the Toulon starting XV that ground out a 17-10 win against Castres at the Stade Mayol. Rory Kockott was at scrumhalf for Castres. The result takes Toulon up to third on the log, one point behind second-placed Montpellier, while Castres fall out of the top six.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images