SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches, involving South African players.
– The Worcester Warriors, with centre Wynand Olivier, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, flank Dewald Potgieter and prop Nic Schonert, edged the Newcastle Falcons 15-14 at Kingston Park. Potgieter scored the opening try from the back of a strong driving maul, but it was Hougaard who won the Man of the Match award for his outstanding performance. Lock Mouritz Botha played for the Falcons as a substitute. The result sees the two teams swap 10th and 11th spots on the log.
– Tighthead prop Brian Mujati was given a rare starting spot by the Sale Sharks, who stunned Harlequins 29-23 at AJ Bell Stadium. It was Quins' fifth defeat in six league games, while it also stretched Sale's unbeaten record at home this season.
– The high-flying Wasps, with hooker Ashley Johnson in their ranks, suffered a humbling 13-10 loss at the hands of Gloucester at Kingsholm. The defeat relegates Wasps to fourth position and Gloucester rise to sixth.
– Bath returned to winning ways with a 25-17 victory against the lowly London Irish at the Recreation Ground. Flank Francois Louw started for the winners who remain ninth, while the Exiles are rooted to the bottom of the log.
– Lock Victor Matfield and his Northampton Saints teammates delivered an excellent display to beat log-leaders Saracens 20-15 away from home. Centre Brad Barritt, flank Michael Rhodes, prop Petrus du Plessis and replacement scrumhalf Neil de Kock turned out for Sarries on the day.
– The Leicester Tigers, with former EP Kings hooker Michael van Vuuren in their team, beat the second-placed Exeter Chiefs 31-27 at Welford Road, to move to within five log points of their victims. Don Armand played No 8 for the ill-disciplined Chiefs, who conceded two yellow cards.
– The Newport Gwent Dragons lost 26-5 to an improving Munster, who are working their way up the table after a horrible run of results in the first half of the season. Fullback Carl Meyer, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, lock Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris represented the Dragons. Munster rose to fifth on the log ahead of Edinburgh, in the only change to the table after round 17.
– Fullback Zane Kirchner and hooker Richardt Strauss were part of the Leinster side that ground out a 19-16 home win over the Ospreys, to maintain their 100% winning record at RDS Arena.
– Connacht extended their lead at the top of the table with a 28-23 bonus-point win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield. Connacht lock Quinn Roux came up against Edinburgh's Anton Bresler, who was yellow-carded for pulling down an opposition driving maul. Wing Danie Poolman played alongside Roux, while No 8 Cornell du Preez joined Bresler in the hosts' run-on XV.
– Ulster ended a two-game losing streak by thumping Zebre 32-0 at the Kingspan Stadium. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, flank Robbie Diack, lock Franco van der Merwe and hooker Rob Herring were all on duty for the winners, while wingers Ulrich Beyers and Kayle van Zyl, locks Quintin Geldenhuys and Gideon Koegelenberg and No 8 Johan Meyer turned out for 11th-ranked Zebre.
– The Scarlets defeated No 8 Braam Steyn's Treviso 24-15 at home. Winger DTH van der Merwe and ex-Kings second row David Bulbring completed the Scarlets' starting XV.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Clermont, featuring front rowers Dan Kotzé and Marthinus van der Westhuizen and fullback Scott Spedding, secured a resounding 45-12 bonus-point win against Grenoble away from home. Fullback Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and No 5 lock Hendrik Roodt started for Grenoble, who are now in the bottom half of the table.
– Prop Gurthrö Steenkamp's Toulouse scored a last-minute try to draw 21-21 with Brive. Lock Johan Snyman scored the opening try in the 33rd minute. He played with lock Peet Marais and flank Paul Hauman for Brive, who are in eighth position.
– Racing clinched a morale-boosting 38-13 bonus-point win over Agen in Paris. The hosts outscored Agen five tries to one, with flank Bernard le Roux and lock Juandré Kruger both crossing for a try. The duo played with No 8 Antonie Claassen and lock Francois van der Merwe for the winners. Flyhalf Burton Francis, outside centre Johann Sadie and lock Marco Kotzé did service for the ill-disciplined Agen who conceded four yellow cards. Francis added a conversion and two penalties to the losing cause.
– Pau inflicted a demoralising 19-12 defeat on Stade Français at home. The reigning champions, who've had an indifferent season to date, had eighthman Jono Ross, inside centre Meyer Bosman and lock Gerhard Mostert in their team. The 11th-ranked Pau are one place above Stade on the log.
– Loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff starred in Bordeaux's 48-20 crushing of Oyonnax. Kitshoff joined starting lock Jandré Marais on the field in the 50th minute and scored two of his team's seven tries. No 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, who is heading to the USA, started for Oyonnax, but it was replacement hooker Jody Jenneker who barged over the line in the 70th minute for their third try. The win puts Bordeaux in fourth place on the log.
– Scrumhalf Rory Kockott and his Castres team slumped to a 22-19 defeat against Montpellier. The winners paired Robert Ebersohn and Francois Steyn in midfield with Demetri Catrakilis at flyhalf, Wiaan Liebenberg at flank, Paul Willemse at No 4 lock, Jannie du Plessis at tighthead prop and Bismarck du Plessis at hooker, while loose forward Pierre Spies came off the bench to make his debut for the club. Catrakilis kicked a conversion and three vital penalties for the hosts, while Kockott slotted two penalties for Castres.
– Toulon suffered a setback when they lost 19-14 to La Rochelle. Former Bok Ricky Januarie was at scrumhalf for the winners, who secured only their seventh win of the campaign. Duane Vermeulen started at the back of the scrum for Toulon and was joined by former Bok teammate Juan Smith, who came on as replacement lock on the hour-mark. The loss sees Toulon drop from first to third in the standings.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP Photo