SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, involving South African players.
– Four penalties saw Gloucester edge Brian Mujati's Sale Sharks 12-11 at the AJ Bell Stadium. It was Sale's first league defeat at home this season, and Gloucester's first victory in Manchester since 2001.
– The Worcester Warriors, with scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze and prop Nic Schonert in their ranks, slumped to a 31-17 loss against the Leicester Tigers. The bonus-point victory helped the Tigers secure a spot in the semi-finals.
– The Northampton Saints, featuring lock Victor Matfield, overturned a 14-point deficit to beat flank Francois Louw's Bath 15-14 at Franklin's Gardens.
– Don Armand started at the back of the scrum for the Exeter Chiefs in their 24-3 demolition of Wasps at Sandy Park. Hooker Ashley Johnson came on as a second-half replacement for Wasps, who surrendered second spot to the Chiefs.
– Saracens beat the Newcastle Falcons 23-14 at Allianz Park to secure top spot in the league standings with one round to go. Centre Brad Barritt, flank Michael Rhodes and hooker Schalk Brits represented Sarries, while lock Mouritz Botha was on duty for the Falcons.
– No 8 Braam Steyn scored a crucial try to help Treviso record a stunning 22-21 win over second-placed Connacht. Lock Quinn Roux started for the Irish club. The loss has dented Connacht's hope of securing a home semi-final, as their lead over third-placed Leinster has been cut down to one point with a single round of matches remaining.
– The Gloucester Warriors ran in 10 tries in their 70-10 win over Zebre at home. Fullback Ulrich Beyers, wing Kayle van Zyl, locks Quintin Geldenhuys, Gideon Geldenhuys and No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk did service for Zebre, who are now bottom of the log.
– Munster, featuring eighthman CJ Stander, scored a late converted try to edged Edinburgh 27-19 at Irish Independent Park. Centre Andries Strauss, No 8 Cornell du Preez, No 4 lock Anton Bresler and tighthead prop WP Nel played for Edinburgh, who have been relegated to eighth position.
– Wing Hanno Dirksen bagged a brace of tries to guide the Ospreys to a 40-27 bonus-point win over the Cardiff Blues. Lock Rynier Bernardo started alongside the influential Dirksen for the winners.
– Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar delivered a Man-of-the-Match performance in Ulster's 30-6 thumping of Leinster at the Kingspan Stadium. Pienaar didn't score any points, but made a darting run through the Leinster defence, chipped the ball over the last defender before he was blocked in his follow-through, which earned Ulster a penalty try. Featuring alongside Pienaar for the winners, were hooker Rob Herring and locks Franco van der Merwe and Robbie Diack. Hooker Richardt Strauss was in Leinster's match 23.
– The Scarlets beat the Newport Gwent Dragons 34-20. Fullback Carl Meyer, lock Ligtoring Landman, prop Brok Harris and scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius turned out for the Dragons. Lock David Bulbring started for the Scarlets.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Former Bok stalwart Juan Smith scored a late try for Toulon, but it wasn't enough as they lost 12-10 to Toulouse at the Stade Mayol. He played alongside compatriot Duane Vermeulen for Toulon, who moved from second to third on the log. Prop Gurthrö Steenkamp represented the winners from the 61st minute.
– Flyhalf Burton Francis and centre Johann Sadie started for Agen in their 37-19 bonus-point win over Agen, with the former scoring 12 points. Lock Johan Snyman, flank Paul Hauman and prop Kevin Buys played for Brive.
– Montpellier obliterated Grenoble 51-10 at the Altrad Stadium. Fyhalf Frans Steyn, lock Jacques du Plessis and hooker Bismarck du Plessis all scored tries, while centre Robert Ebersohn, flank Wiaan Liebenberg and No 8 Pierre Spies were also influential for the winners. Prop Rossouw de Klerk started at tighthead prop for Grenoble. The win sees Montpellier move to within two points of Clermont at the summit of the standings.
– Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie and his La Rochelle teammates suffered a 17-16 defeat at the hands of hosts Oyonnax. La Rochelle stay in eighth position and Oyonnax in 13th.
– Castres secured a 37-6 bonus-point win over Pau to stay ahead of Bordeaux in the final playoff spot on the log. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott came off the bench for Castres in the 56th minute as did replacement No 8 Chris Dry for Pau in the 57th minute.
– Bordeaux claimed a comfortable 35-25 win over Stade Français to keep alive their slender hopes of reaching the playoffs. Scrumhalf Heini Adams, lock Jandré Marais and loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff were on duty for Bordeaux. Stade featured flyhalf Morné Steyn, centre Meyer Bosman and flank Jono Ross in their team, with Steyn kicking two conversions and two penalties.
– A second-string Racing side stunned log leaders Clermont 26-20 in Paris. No 8 Antonie Claassen and lock Francois van der Merwe were in Racing's run-on XV. Prop Dan Kotzé, hooker Marco van der Westhuizen, lock Flip van der Merwe and fullback Scott Spedding turned out for Clermont, who remain top despite the loss.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Ulster Rugby/Inpho Photography