SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the South African players who featured for their respective clubs in the final round of the English Premiership.
– Harlequins were able to give legendary captain Chris Robshaw a winning send-off in his 300th game for the club after fighting to claim an entertaining 32-26 win over Leicester Tigers. On debut for the Tigers, wing Kobus van Wyk came close to scoring a late winning try for his side, but was denied by a heroic tackle from Joe Marchant, who scored a brace for Harlequins. Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen enjoyed a standout match for Harlequins, making a massive 74 metres from 13 carries. Esterhuizen also picked up a try assist when he put Marchant in for his second try. Harlequins started Simon Kerrod at tighthead prop, with Springbok Wilco Louw replacing him in the 60th minute, while 23-year-old Jordan Els started at loosehead prop. Hanro Liebeberg started at No 8 for Leicester and made 61m from 16 carries, beating three defenders and missing none of his eight tackles. Harlequins finished the season in sixth place, but were some distance away from the top four on 51 points, while Leicester completed another disappointing season in 11th place.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) October 4, 2020
43 mins – Andre Esterhuizen just put in a HUGE hit on Matt Scott.
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) October 4, 2020
– Wasps secured their place in the playoffs by thrashing league leaders the Exeter Chiefs 46-5 for their 11th win in 12 games. Wasps, who have been in an extraordinary run of form since the season resumed, assured themselves of second place with the bonus-point win. The Chiefs were already assured of top spot and fielded a much-changed starting lineup, missing South African forward duo Jacques Vermeulen and Jannes Kirsten.
– The Bristol Bears climbed into third place on the table and ensured they would be in the semi-finals with a bonus-point 36-7 win over London Irish. Allan Dell started at loosehead prop for London Irish, who finished in 10th place, while lock Sebastian de Chaves made an appearance off the bench.
– Saracens ended their time in the Premiership by fighting back to claim a 17-17 draw with Bath and leave their opponents on the brink of falling out of the top four. Bath raced into a 14-0 lead in the first half, but conceded a 72nd-minute try to Saracens lock Tim Swinson and had to settle for a draw. With the Sale Sharks still to play against the Worcester Warriors on Wednesday, Bath will nervously be hoping that the Warriors can pull off an unlikely victory. Vincent Koch was the only South African in Saracens’ starting lineup and the Springbok tighthead put in another solid performance, playing 56 minutes and making 12 completed tackles, while also winning a turnover.
* Note: Gloucester’s match against the Northampton Saints was cancelled after Saints had to forfeit the game as they did not have enough players to field due to Covid-19 regulations. Gloucester were awarded a 20-0 victory and finished the season in seventh place.
* Note: The Sale Sharks’ match against the Worcester Warriors was postponed and will take place on Wednesday, 7 October. The Sharks are currently in fifth place and can climb above Bath into the top four with a win.
Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images