SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, involving South African players.
– The Exeter Chiefs, with flank Don Armand in their ranks, slumped to a 16-9 defeat at the hands of Gloucester at Kingsholm. The winners remain eighth on the log despite the result, while the Chiefs drop from second to third.
– Wasps beat the Worcester Warriors 54-35 in a 14-try thriller at Sixways Stadium. Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze scored a try apiece for Worcester, who also had tighthead prop Nic Schonert in their starting lineup. Hooker Ashley Johnson was used as an impact player off the bench by Wasps, who rose to second on the log.
– Saracens ground out a 22-12 victory against city-rivals Harlequins at Wembley to strengthen their position at the top of the table. Scrumhalf Neil de Kock, flank Michael Rhodes, tighthead Petrus du Plessis and hooker Schalk Brits were in Sarries' run-on XV.
– Lock Victor Matfield was named in the Northampton Saints' match-day squad in the 30-24 defeat to the Leicester Tigers. The East Midlands derby result sees the fourth-placed Tigers open up a seven-point lead over the Saints on the log.
– The Sale Sharks kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs with a 29-17 win over the struggling Bath at AJ Bell Stadium. Prop Brian Mujati played for the winners.
– Lock Mouritz Botha was part of the Newcastle Falcons side that edged fellow bottom-feeders London Irish 13-6 at Kingston Park. The result, though, had no impact on either team's position on the table.
– The Newport Gwent Dragons, featuring fullback Carl Meyer, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, lock Ligtoring Landman and tighthead prop Brok Harris, suffered a 28-8 defeat against the Cardiff Blues. Pretorius enjoyed an excellent game, scoring the Dragons' only try, but he was also yellow-carded soon after for a deliberate knock-on.
– Flank CJ Stander and his Munster teammates lost 35-14 against Connacht at the Sportsground. The result keeps Connacht level on points with Leinster at the top of the table. Munster drop from sixth to seventh position.
– Ruan Pienaar scored the first of seven tries in Ulster's 47-17 demolition of hosts Zebre. The scrumhalf, whose effort came as early as the third minute, played alongside locks Franco van der Merwe and Robbie Diack and hooker Rob Herring. Zebre had fullback Kayle van Zyl, centre Ulrich Beyers, No 8 Gideon Koegelenberg, flank Jean Cook and lock Quintin Geldenhuys in their team.
– Back rowers Josh Strauss and Tyrone Holmes starred for the Glasgow Warriors in their 46-10 bonus-point victory over hosts the Scarlets. Winger DTH van der Merwe and locks David Bulbring and George Earle were on duty for the Scarlets, whose poor run of form sees them relegated to fifth spot.
– The Ospreys swept Treviso aside to clinch a 47-10 bonus-point triumph at Liberty Stadium. Winger Hanno Dirksen and lock Rynier Bernardo did service for the winners, as did No 8 Braam Steyn for Treviso, who are rock bottom.
– Leinster, with Richardt Strauss at hooker, eased to a 30-23 bonus-point victory against Edinburgh at RDS Arena. Eighthman Cornell du Preez, lock Anton Bresler and tighthead prop WP Nel played for Edinburgh, who managed to come away with a crucial losing bonus point to overtake Munster on the log.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Castres, with Rory Kockott at scrumhalf, claimed an exciting 33-28 win over hosts Grenoble. Gio Aplon was at fullback for Grenoble, with Charl McLeod at scrumhalf and Rossouw de Klerk at tighthead prop.
– Duane Vermeulen was at the back of the scrum for Toulon, who put their Champions Cup exit behind them to thump Pau 25-9. The winners scored three unanswered tries for a bonus-point win that takes them up to third in the standings.
– Clermont secured the biggest win of the weekend with a lopsided 38-10 defeat of Agen to extend their lead at the top of the table. Replacement hooker Marthinus van der Westhuizen was given a 12-minute cameo by the winners. Lock Marco Kotzé and centre Johann Sadie turned out for Agen, who will be relegated at the end of the season.
– Locks Wilhelm Steenkamp and Johan Steenkamp and flank Paul Hauman started for Brive, who ousted Oyonnax 31-12 at home. Hooker Jody Jenneker sat on Oyonnax's bench.
– La Rochelle recorded a shock 22-15 win against Bordeaux in an ill-disciplined match that saw the referee hand out three yellow cards. Lock Bêrend Botha and prop Steven Kitshoff turned out for Bordeaux, with the former sent to the sin bin. Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie started for the winners and expertly marshalled proceedings for them.
– A rejuvenated Montpellier travelled to Paris where they beat Stade Français 26-20. Frans Steyn played inside centre, while Pierre Spies lined up at No 8 and Paul Willemse at No 5 lock for the winning team. Hooker Bismarck du Plessis came off the bench in the 50th minute. Stade called on the services of flankers Jono Ross and Willem Alberts, who was replaced by Gerhard Mostert. Montpellier are second in the standings, seven points adrift of Clermont.
– Toulouse ground out a 14-3 win against a second-string Racing team at home. Racing handed rare starts to lock Juandré Kruger and wing Sean Robinson, while flank Bernard le Roux was listed as a substitute. Loosehead prop Gurthrö Steenkamp turned out for Toulouse, who lagged in the 12th minute but scored two converted tries before the break for the win.
Photo: Giuseppe Fama/Celtic Pro12/Inpho