Pienaar makes winning return

SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's European Champions Cup, European Challenge Cup and Japanese Top League matches, which involved South African players.


Pool 1

– Wing Gerhard van den Heever, centre Pat Howard and No 8 CJ Stander all started for Munster, who suffered a shock 16-6 defeat against visitors Clermont. Clermont not only denied Munster a losing bonus point, they also became the first French side to win at Thomond Park. The result lifted the winners to the summit of Pool 1.

– Lock Alistair Hargreaves led Saracens to a 19-15 win over the Sale Sharks on Saturday. Prop Petrus du Plessis started alongside Hargreaves, while ex-Bok scrumhalf Neil de Kock came on in the 77th minute. Sarries and Munster are level on nine points each, but the former are second on the log, behind Clermont, on points difference.

Pool 2

– Replacement flyhalf Tim Swiel kick two late penalties and a conversion to help Harlequins beat Leinster 24-18. Former Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner came on in the 56th minute for Leinster, who remain second behind Quins.

– A late surge saw Wasps stun Castres 32-17 in France on Sunday. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott converted Castres' two tries, but it was flank Ashley Johnson and his Wasps teammates who secured the bonus-point win to open up a six-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Castres.

Pool 3

– Bryan Habana scored one of two Toulon tries, but it wasn't enough as his team slumped to a 25-21 defeat against the Leicester Tigers at Welford Road. Lock Bakkies Botha was also in the European champions' run-on side with flank Juan Smith coming on in the 68th minute. Despite the result, Toulon still top Pool 3, with the Tigers a point behind in second.

– Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar made a rousing return from injury when he scored one of four tries as Ulster beat the Llanelli Scarlets 24-9. Fullback Louis Ludik, flank Robbie Diack, lock Franco van der Merwe and prop Wiehahn Herbst all turned out for Ulster and hooker Rob Herring played in the final four minutes. Locks Johan Snyman and George Earle represented the Scarlets.

Pool 4

– Toulouse struggled to a 19-11 win over the Glasgow Warriors at the Stade Ernest Wallon to replace them at the top of Pool 4. Eighthman Josh Strauss skippered the Warriors, while prop Rossouw de Klerk and Bok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak were unused substitutes for Glasgow and Toulouse respectively.

– Centre Wynand Olivier and prop Pat Cilliers turned out for Montpellier, who were brushed aside 30-5 by visitors Bath. The winners moved off the foot of the table into third, with Montpellier dropping to fourth.

Pool 5

– Lock Reynier Bernardo and fullback Hanno Dirksen were part of the Ospreys match-day squad that overturned a 10-point deficit to draw 19-19 with Racing Métro. Lock Francois van der Merwe scored Racing's only try, with flyhalf Johan Goosen adding a conversion, three penalties and a drop goal. No 8 Antonie Claassen, flank Bernard le Roux and lock Juandré Kruger all did service for the second-placed French team, who are level on points with the Nothampton Saints, but the Saints lead Pool 5 with a better points difference.


Pool 2

– Lock Cobus Grobler, hooker Rassie van Vuuren and their La Rochelle teammates went down 36-10 against the Exeter Chiefs in their Pool 2 clash. The Chiefs now sit in prime position in the standings.

 – Wing Danie Poolman grabbed a brace for Connacht as they thrashed Bayonne 42-19. Lock Quinn Roux started alongside the winger for the victors, who sit second in Pool 2, a point behind leaders the Exeter Chiefs.

Pool 3

– Meyer Bosman, Morné Steyn, Jono Ross and Gerhard Mostert were all part of the Stade Français side that lost 30-23 to the Newcastle Falcons. Steyn slotted two conversions and three penalties in the losing cause as Stade remain third in Pool 3.

– The Newport Gwent Dragons recorded a 37-10 bonus-point win against the Bucharest Wolves in Romania. Brok Harris played for the Dragons and lock Johan van Heerden for the Wolves.

Pool 4

– Bordeaux recorded a 37-29 bonus-point win over Lyon in their French derby, to rise to the top of Pool 4. Locks Berend Botha and Jandré Marais started in tandem for Bordeaux. Loose forward Frans Viljoen was named on Lyon's bench.

– Edinburgh were made to work hard for their 25-13 victory against London Welsh at Murrayfield. Centre Andries Strauss, lock Anton Bresler and prop WP Nel were on duty for the Scottish team, while No 8 Ben Pienaar did service for Welsh.

Pool 5

– Gloucester convincingly beat Zebre 35-10 to extend their lead at the top of Pool 5. Fullback Hennie Daniller and eighthman Dries van Schalkwyk started for the Italian team, with the former scoring a try.

– Fullback Riaan Smit's penalty and conversion guided Oyonnax to a 30-22 win over Brive. Flank Pedrie Wannenburg, hooker Jody Jenneker and prop Ruaan du Preez played for the winners, who moved to second on the Pool 5 log. Props Kevin Buys and Johannes Coetzee represented Brive, who linger in fourth with one point.


Keegan Daniel continued his rich try-scoring form with another touchdown for the Kubota Spears in their 17-6 victory over the Toyota Industries Shuttles. Daniel's former Sharks teammate Ryan Kankowski turned out for the Shuttles from the 56th minute.

–  Elton Jantjies kicked a conversion and a penalty, but it wasn't enough to help the NTT Communications Shining Arcs, as they lost 37-15 to the Toyota Verblitz. Ex-Sharks flank Jean Deysel made an appearance for Verblitz from the 55th minute.

– The Toshiba Brave Lupus defeated the Panasonic Wild Knights 30-20. Centre Frans Steyn started for Toshiba, while former Bok and Sharks teammate JP Pietersen came on in the 59th minute for Panasonic.

– Ex-Stormers duo Jaque Fourie and Andries Bekker starred in the Kobelco Steelers' 30-20 victory over Suntory Sungoliath. Bekker played the entire match and scored a five-pointer, while flank Justin Downey played 80 minutes for Suntory.

Jacques Potgieter started on the side of the scrum for the Munakaua Sanix Blues, whose losing streak stretched to six, with a 34-17 defeat against the NEC Green Rockets.

– The NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, with Heinrich Brüssow and Riaan Viljoen in their run-on XV, hammered the Coca-Cola Red Sparks 41-5. Viljoen scored a try before he was substituted to make way for Johann Sadie in the 56th minute, while Wimpie van der Walt replaced Brüssow two minutes later. 

Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

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