SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s second round of European Champions and Challenge Cup matches involving South African players.
– The Northampton Saints needed a late penalty deep into added time to snatch a thrilling 35-32 away win at Benetton after going into the break 25-15 behind. Cobus Reinach and loosehead prop Frans van Wyk were in action for the Saints. Reinach made a total of 63 passes, seven carries and 42 metres including two clean breaks and two offloads, before coming off in the final 10 minutes. Veteran scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage grabbed two try assists as Benetton flew into the lead in the first half, while Italy-capped flank Braam Steyn was at his best, making 47m from eight carries. Lock Irne Herbst also started for Benetton, while hooker Michael van Vuuren was a replacement for the Saints.
– Last season’s finalists Leinster stayed on top of Pool 1 after grinding out a 13-6 win away in Lyon. The French side, who outscored Leinster 6-3 in the second half, had locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen in their lineup. Roodt made six carries and three completed tackles.
– In a powerhouse second half the Exeter Chiefs claimed a 34-18 win over an injury-hit Glasgow Warriors side. Flank Jacques Vermeulen started for the Chiefs and made 14 tackles, missing three, before being replaced by Zimbabwean-born Don Armand, who featured in the team for the first time this season. Jannes Kirsten was also a Chiefs substitute and made an appearance at lock in the final 15 minutes. Wings DTH van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn and loosehead prop Oli Kebble were in action for Glasgow.
– Rohan Janse van Rensburg put in a terrific performance as he helped the Sale Sharks see off a 14-man La Rochelle side in a 25-15 win. The outside centre bashed his way over the line in the opening 10 minutes to set the Sharks on their way in a performance which included making 44m from nine carries and two clean breaks. Faf de Klerk returned to Sale’s starting lineup and made 31m from eight carries but only managed 32 passes from the breakdown. Robert du Preez (playing at inside centre), Jean-Luc du Preez (starting at lock), Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jono Ross and Embrose Papier were all in action for the Sharks. La Rochelle brought Wiaan Liebenberg off the bench in the second half.
– Ulster continued their winning run with a tight 18-13 victory over Clermont on Friday. Marcell Coetzee put in a Man of the Match performance, with 13 carries and 30m as well as 10 tackles and a turnover. Louis Ludik made the most of a rare start on the right wing for Ulster as he was excellent in the air and ran 47m from nine carries.
– Francois Louw made his first appearance since returning from the World Cup to start in Bath’s 15-9 loss to Harlequins. Louw was at No 8 and made six tackles and won a turnover despite Bath slipping to their second consecutive European defeat. Stephan Lewies was at lock for Harlequins and made six carries and 10 tackles.
– Munster and Racing 92 played to an entertaining 21-21 draw. CJ Stander was immense for Munster, making a massive 24 carries and gaining 28m while also making eight tackles and two offloads. Lock Jean Kleyn and replacement loose-forward Arno Botha also got time for Munster. France No 8 Antonie Claassen started at No 8 for Racing.
– Saracens bounced back from their opening round defeat as they cruised to a bonus-point 44-3 win against the Ospreys on Saturday. Brad Barritt was among those making a welcome return to the starting lineup as he resumed the captaincy for Saracens, before being replaced in the 48th minute. On-loan Lions lock Marvin Orie was at blindside flank for the Ospreys, but was rather ineffective in this role, making just one carry and missing two of his six tackles before being replaced just after half time. Hanno Dirksen was at wing for the Ospreys, while scrumhalf Shaun Venter came off the bench in the second half.
– Thomas du Toit made his Toulouse debut and scored a late try to get a bonus-point 32-17 victory over Connacht. Du Toit, who joined Toulouse on loan from the Sharks before the World Cup, made his first appearance for the French side from the bench, making six carries and two tackles in 17 minutes. Bok flank Ryhardt Elstadt continued in Toulouse’s starting lineup. Ireland lock Quinn Roux started for Connacht and won three turnovers at the lineout.
– Jan Serfontein scored a try as Montpellier grabbed a thrilling 30-27 win against Gloucester despite being reduced to 14 men. The hosts saw lock Jacques du Plessis sent off for throwing an elbow during a driving maul. Frans Steyn was at fullback for Montpellier, while Bismarck du Plessis started at hooker. Gloucester had flank Jaco Kriel, lock Gerbrandt Grobler and hooker Corne Fourie in their starting lineup, with Ruan Ackermann coming off the bench.
– Wing Bjorn Basson, outside centre Hendrik Marais, No 8 Jeremy Jordaan, prop Ewald Westhuizen and fullback Earll Douwrie all played for Russian team Enisei-STM in their 49-22 loss to the Dragons. Basson and Jordaan both crashed over to score for the hosts, but it wasn’t enough as the Dragons ran riot to come away with maximum log points.
– Castres inflicted a 17-9 defeat on the Worcester Warriors. Centre Rob Ebersohn, Rory Kockott and Jody Jenneker represented Castres. The Warriors had Francois Venter, Francois Hougaard, Cornell du Preez, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Anton Bresler and Nick Schonert in their ranks.
– Toulon edged the Scarlets 17-16 in a riveting encounter at the Stade Felix Mayol. Springbok duo Juandre Kruger and Uzair Cassiem played for the unlucky Scarlets, who are now third in the pool standings. Toulon are three log points clear at the top of the standings.
– London Irish returned to winning ways with a 45-31 victory over Bayonne. Locks Franco van der Merwe and Ruan Botha started in tandem for Irish, and with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively, they ranked as the top tacklers in the game.
– Jaco van der Walt kicked a conversion and three penalties for an 11-point haul to guide Edinburgh to a 16-16 draw with Bordeaux. Wing Duhan van der Merwe had an excellent game for Edinburgh. He made nine carries from 111 run metres. Prop Pierre Schoeman and hooker Mike Willemse also featured for Edinburgh. Lock Jandre Marais was on duty for Bordeaux.
– Flank Ashley Johnson scored a double as Wasps lashed Agen 32-14 to secure a much-needed bonus-point win at Ricoh Arena. Johnson made 18 run meters, six carries, 14 tackles, three turnovers and one offload to go with his brace of tries.
– Locks Peet Marais and Jan Uys and centre Nico Lee were in the Brive side that were blanked 36-0 by the rampant Bristol Bears. Brive have now sunk to third, while Bristol are top.
– Lionel Mapoe and James Hall came on as second-half replacements for Stade Français, who defeated Zebre 13-12. It is Stade’s first win since the sacking of former coach Heyneke Meyer.
– Centre EW Viljoen and his Leicester Tigers claimed a nervy 14-11 triumph over the Cardiff Blues. As a result, the Tigers climbed to the top of the pool table, ahead of their victims who are now second.
– Pau ran in nine tries to demolish Calvisano 61-10 at home. Prop Lourens Adriaanse did service for the winning team. Locks Adam Wessels and Mike van Vuren turned out for Calvisano, who are languishing at the bottom of the log.
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