SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s French Top 14 and Anglo-Welsh Cup matches involving South African players.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Montpellier retained their place at the top of the standings with a thrilling 30-29 victory over Clermont. Ruan Pienaar slotted a match-winning conversion in the last minute to turn the result in Montpellier’s favour. The scrumhalf, who scored a total of 15 points, played alongside centres Frans Steyn and Jan Serfontein, front rowers Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis and lock Paul Willemse. Fullback Scott Spedding and lock Flip van der Merwe started for Clermont.
– Outside centre Paul Jordaan and his La Rochelle teammates registered a 33-24 triumph over Brive. Locks Peet Marais and Johan Snyman were on duty for Brive. The result keeps La Rochelle second on the log.
– Castres, with prop Dan Kotze, hooker Jody Jenneker, scrumhalf Rory Kockott and centre Robert Ebersohn in their ranks, slumped to an 18-13 defeat against Racing 92. Loose forward Antonie Claassen played a 10-minute cameo for Racing off the bench. Racing are third on the table and Castres fourth.
– Lock Juandré Kruger scored one of six tries as 14-man Toulon whipped Bordeaux 36-12, despite conceding a red card in the first half. Springboks JP Pietersen, Duane Vermeulen and Marcel van der Merwe also started for fifth-placed Toulon. Lock Jandré Marais was in Bordeaux’s run-on XV, while flyhalf Tian Schoeman kicked a conversion after coming on as a second-half substitute.
– Toulouse emerged as 37-15 winners over Oyonnax in an ill-disciplined contest that produced two red cards, one either way. Fullback Bjorn Basson scored a try in Oyonnax’s losing cause and his compatriot James Hall was used as an impact player off the bench. Flank Rynhardt Elstadt was included in Toulouse’s starting lineup and his former Stormers teammate Cheslin Kolbe was benched.
– Centre Johann Sadie grabbed two tries but his performance was in vain as Agen suffered a demoralising 71-17 loss at the hands of Lyon, who scored 10 tries. Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie played with Sadie for Agen. Locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen and loosehead prop Albertus Buckle were on duty for Lyon, who are now seventh on the log.
– Prop Lourens Adriaanse formed part of the Pau side that thrashed Stade Français 40-5 in Paris. Bok trio Willem Alberts, Heinke van der Merwe and Morné Steyn turned out for Stade, who are languishing in 11th position in the standings. Pau moved up to eighth spot.
– Cobus Reinach won the battle of the South African scrumhalves as he was named Man of the Match in the Northampton Saints’ 24-20 win against the Sale Sharks. Faf de Klerk kicked a penalty for Sale. Northampton, who started with Francois van Wyk at prop, kept themselves in contention for a semi-final place with the win.
– The Worcester Warriors kept their playoff hopes alive with a 31-21 bonus-point win against the Exeter Chiefs. Francois Hougaard started for Worcester, who included hooker Kurt Haupt and lock Anton Bresler on the bench. Exeter named lock Wilhelm van Der Sluys on the bench.
– Saracens eased to a comfortable 40-21 win against the Dragons. Flyhalf Zane Kirchner kicked three conversions for the Dragons, who included fullback Carl Meyer, wing Pat Howard and lock Ligtoring Landman in their starting XV. Centre Jarryd Sage was among the replacements for the Dragons.
– London Irish swept a largely second-string Wasps XV aside with a 66-7 win, leaving Wasps’ hopes of reaching the knockout stage hanging by a thread. London Irish included lock Franco van der Merwe and flank Arno Botha in their starting XV, while Piet van Zyl made his debut and scored a try off the bench. Flank Sebastien de Chaves and prop Petrus du Plessis were also among the replacements for London Irish.
– The Leicester Tigers, with tighthead prop Pat Cilliers in their starting XV, kept their hopes of defending their title alive with a 24-12 win against the Cardiff Blues.
– Hooker Michael van Vuuren started for Bath as they remained top of Pool 1 with a 21-8 win over the Newcastle Falcons.
Compiled by Mariette Adams and Dylan Jack
Photo: Romain Biard/Getty Images