SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches played this weekend.
Jake White’s Montpellier smashed Grenoble 54-14 to keep alive their hopes of automatic Top 14 semi-final qualification. The top two sides after the regular season will each host a semi-final, while teams four to six will battle for the remaining semi-final spots in two playoff games.
With only three rounds remaining, Montpellier are third in the standings behind La Rochelle and Clermont, but with a game in hand they have every chance of finishing in the top two.
On Saturday, Montpellier put in a dominant, five-try performance in the first half against Grenoble, which included a try from hooker Bismarck du Plessis, to lead 33-0. They added three more scores after the break and with flyhalf Willie du Plessis slotting seven of his eight conversion attempts, Montpellier sealed an emphatic bonus-point win.
In other Top 14 matches, trend-setters La Rochelle consolidated their place at the top of the standings with a 16-5 win over Bordeaux, the rejuvenated Stade Français beat Bayonne 32-16, Lyon pipped Castres 17-16, Brive stunned Clermont 26-21, Racing edged Pau 34-32 and Toulon defeated Toulouse 33-23.
In the Premiership, Saracens proved too strong for city rivals Harlequins and secured a 40-19 bonus-point win, the Sale Sharks held off the Worcester Warriors to clinch a 36-26 win, the Newcastle Falcons battled to a 16-14 victory against Gloucester, Bath came out 27-21 victors in a riveting clash against the Leicester Tigers, the Exeter Chiefs snuck past Bristol 38-34 and Wasps came from behind to down the Northampton Saints 32-30.
Results in the Celtic Pro12 saw the Scarlets thrash Treviso 51-5, Munster won 10-7 against the Glasgow Warriors, Leinster beat the Ospreys 20-18, Zebre clinched a stunning 29-14 triumph over the Newport Gwent Dragons, Connacht returned to winning ways with a 22-19 victory against Edinburgh, and Ulster’s contest with the Cardiff Blues ended in a 24-24 stalemate.
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