Pinpoint Pienaar lifts Ulster looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, involving South African players.


– Saracens continued their perfect start  to the season with a comprehensive 34-13 bonus-point win over hosts the Exeter Chiefs. Former Sharks inside centre Brad Barritt captained the side, with Bok flank Schalk Burger and prop Petrus du Plessis in the pack. Ex-Stormers duo Schalk Brits and Michael Rhodes were on the Sarries bench and played from the 50th and 53rd minutes respectively. Flank Don Armand started for the Chiefs.

– Scrumhalf Nic Groom ​came on from the 45th minute for the Northampton Saints, who thumped Bristol 32-10 at Ashton Gate.

– Wasps, with hooker Ashley Johnson in their ranks, stunned hosts the Leicester Tigers 34-22 to claim their first win at Welford Road since 2008. Springbok winger JP Pietersen played for the Tigers from start to finish.

– No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze led the Worcester Warriors to a 23-23 draw against Gloucester at Sixways. Former Bulls and Springbok centre Wynand Olivier featured alongside Van Velze for the Warriors.


– The Newport Gwent Dragons, with scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, lock Ligtoring Landman and tighthead prop Brok Harris in their starting XV, battled to an 11-6 win over Zebre. Wing Lloyd Greeff, eighthman Andries van Schalkwyk, locks Quintin Geldenhuys and Gideon Koegelenberg and scrumhalf Carlo Engelbrecht all turned out for the Italian side.

– Lock George Earle and his Cardiff Blues teammates ground out a thrilling 24-23 win against Munster. Flank CJ Stander was named on Munster's bench and came on in the 44th minute.

– The Scarlets slumped to a 20-9 defeat at the hands on Edinburgh at Murrayfield. WP Nel started for the winners, while former Bulls duo David Bulbring (lock) and Werner Kruger (prop) were on duty for the Scarlets.

– Winger Zane Kirchner scored one of three tries but it was in vain as Leinster lost 33-25 to the Glasgow Warriors. The winners outscored Leinster five tries to three.

– Ulster fullback Louis Ludik returned to action after a lengthly injury layoff, but it was scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar who excelled in their 22-11 triumph over Treviso. Pienaar contributed 12 points via a try, two conversions and a penalty to set Ulster apart from their hosts. Hooker Rob Herring, who also scored a try, and lock Franco Mostert played alongside Pienaar and Ludik.

– Defending champions Connacht with winger Danie Poolman in their team, suffered a humiliating 32-11 loss against Ospreys at the Sportsground. The result keeps Ospreys at the top of the log and Connacht chained to the foot of the table.


– Compatriots Meyer Bosman (centre), Willem Alberts (flank), Craig Burden (hooker) and Heinke van der Merwe (prop) were in the Stade Français side that scraped past Castres 29-15. It was an action-packed match that saw the referee issue a red and two yellow cards. Inside centre Robert Ebersohn played with returning scrumhalf Rory Kockott and hooker Jody Jenneker for Castres.

–  Montpellier built on their round-three victory with a comprehensive 41-13 bonus-point win over Pau in round four. Frans Steyn was selected at flyhalf for the winners, with Pierre Spies at the back of the scrum and Bismarck du Plessis at hooker. Lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and prop Jannie du Plessis were used as impact players in the second half.

– Flyhalf Willie du Plessis kicked a conversion and two penalty goals, but it wasn't enough for Bayonne, who were smashed 40-20 by Bordeaux. Lock Jandré Marais did service for the winners for the duration of the match.

– La Rochelle thumped Lyon 43-18 in a match that produced four yellow cards, to remain the only unbeaten side in the competition. Inside centre Paul Jordaan scored the opening try before he and La Rochelle teammate Ricky Januarie were both sent off in the first half. Flank Deon Fourie, flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter and loosehead Albertus Buckle played for Lyon. Fourie was carded in the 50th minute and Potgieter kicked four long-range penalties.

– Fullback Scott Spedding represented Clermont, who hammered an underwhelming Racing 47-10. Winger Sean Robinson and locks Bernard le Roux and Francois van der Merwe turned out for the reigning champions, who have now lost two of their four games. Robinson scored a late consolation try for Racing to get them into double figures.

– Grenoble secured their first win of the season with a 36-23 result against Brive, despite conceding two red cards on the stroke of half-time and a yellow card after the break. Scrumhalf Charl McLeod and prop Rossouw de Klerk did service for the winners, with the former crossing for a crucial try. Brive, with flank Paul Hauman, lock Wilhelm Steenkamp and prop Kevin Buys in the team, were equally ill-disciplined and conceded a red and two yellow cards on their part.

– Former Kings flank Aidon Davis enjoyed a rousing debut for Toulon, who picked up a convincing 32-15 bonus-point win against hosts Toulouse. Prop Marcel van der Merwe also started for the injury-hit Toulon. Former Bok prop Gurthrö Steenkamp scrummed down for Toulouse.

Photo: Ulster/

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