SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Six Nations, Premiership Cup and Major League Rugby matches involving South African players.
– Paul Willemse and his French teammates let a 16-0 half-time lead slip to lose 24-19 to Wales in Paris. On debut, Willemse made three carries and nine tackles and was replaced just before the hour mark.
– Scotland made a successful start to their campaign by scoring five tries to ease past Italy 33-20. WP Nel and Allan Dell both started in Scotland’s front row, with both players heavily involved defensively for Scotland. Josh Strauss came off the bench in the first half and made eight carries, beating one defender and throwing one offload.
– In the game of the weekend, England stunned defending champions Ireland with a 32-20 win in Dublin. CJ Stander was at No 8 for Ireland and made 18 tackles as well as six passes. Stander was replaced in the 62nd minute after sustaining fractures in his cheekbone and eye socket. Former Stormers lock and recent Connacht captain Quinn Roux got just short of 25 minutes as a substitute.
– Francois Venter scored a second-half try to help the Worcester Warriors beat Wasps 35-23 to set up an enticing semi-final against Saracens. Venter crashed over from short range as the Warriors finished top of Pool 2 on points difference. Nizaam Carr dotted down late on for a consolation try for Wasps, who had Juan de Jongh at outside centre and Ashley Johnson at blindside flank. Francois Hougaard, Dean Hammond, Nic Schonert, Anton Bresler and captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze all did duty for the Warriors.
– The Newcastle Falcons secured their playoff spot with a 28-12 victory away against a young Sale Sharks outfit. In his comeback game from injury, inside centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg collected a chip over the defence to score in-between the posts and help level the scores at half-time. Newcastle will travel to Northampton to face the Saints in next weekend’s semi-final.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY
– Prop Franco van den Berg and hooker Alex Vorster were in the Utah Warriors side that beat Austin Elite 17-9. Hooker Tiaan Erasmus, lock Rikus Zwart and flank Kyle Breytenbach started for Austin, while prop Brendan Rams and lock Dylan Pieterse were used as impact players off the bench. The Warriors are fourth on the log, but have a game in hand.
– The Glendale Raptors, featuring scrumhalf Carlo de Nysschen, flyhalf Robbie Petzer and centre Chad London, suffered a 40-31 defeat against Nola Gold. Fullback JP Eloff, wing Tristan Blewett and flank Caleb Meyer turned out for Nola. Blewett scored a try for the winners, while captain Eloff contributed 15 points via three penalties and three conversions. Nola top the standings after securing two bonus-point wins from their opening two games.
– The San Diego Legion claimed a hard-fought 17-13 win against the Seattle Seawolves in the rain. Captain Joe Pietersen, centre JP du Plessis and hooker Dean Muir were in San Diego’s run-on XV, but Pietersen was forced to leave the field early in the first half after sustaining a concussion. Stephan Coetzee (hooker), Riekert Hattingh (No 8) and JP Smith (scrumhalf) represented the Seawolves. Smith kicked one of the hosts’ penalties.
Compiled by Dylan Jack & Mariette Adams
Photo: Tim Williams/Action Plus via Getty Images