SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's European Champions Cup, European Challenge Cup, New Zealand Cup and Japanese Top League matches, which involved SA players.
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP
– Saracens claimed a 30-23 victory over French club Clermont in a thrilling match at Allianz Park. Inside centre Brad Barritt and prop Petrus du Plessis represented Sarries, under the leadership of No 5 lock Alistair Hargreaves. Hooker Schalk Brits and scrumhalf Neil de Kock joined their countrymen in the 50th and 51st minutes respectively.
– Former Bulls eighthman CJ Stander featured in Munster's comeback as they erased a 16-point deficit to defeat the Sale Sharks 27-26. Former Bok prop BJ Botha came off the bench in the 45th minute for Munster, while ex-Stormers wing Gerhard van den Heever was an unused replacement.
– Scrumhalf Rory Kockott and eighthman Jannie Bornman were in a lacklustre Castres team that slumped to a 25-9 defeat against Harlequins. Kockott kicked three penalties for the French outfit.
– Fullback Zane Kirchner's Leinster came from 12 points down to snatch a 25-20 win over flank Ashley Johnson's Wasps. Hooker Richardt Strauss was used as an impact player by Leinster from the 65th minute.
Former Lions lock Franco van der Merwe scored a try which secured a losing bonus point for Ulster, whose strong second-half performance was overshadowed by their equally ineffective play in the first half, which led to them losing 25-18 to Leicester. Fullback Louis Ludik, flank Robbie Diack and prop Wiehahn Herbst started alongside Van der Merwe. Lock Sebastian de Chaves turned out for Leceister from the 43rd minute and Rob Herring completed Ulster's match-day squad.
– Toulon began their title defence with a 28-18 victory over the Llanelli Scarlets. Boks Bryan Habana, Juan Smith and Bakkies Botha featured for the defending champions, while scrumhalf Michael Claassens played in the last 13 minutes. Lock Johan Snyman played the full 80 for the Scarlets, while George Earle failed to make an appearance as a substitute.
– The Glasgow Warriors hammered Bath 37-10 despite a number of injury setbacks in the buildup to this match. Replacements DHT van der Merwe, Tyrone Holmes and Rossouw de Klerk played for the Scottish team from the 40th, 59th and 70th minutes respectively.
– Toulouse, with prop Gurthrö Steenkamp in their starting team, stretched their undefeated record against French opposition in European competitions with a nail-biting 30-23 victory over Montpellier. Ex-Bok centre Wynand Olivier contributed with a brilliant individual score for Montpellier, who picked up a losing bonus point.
– The Neath-Swansea Ospreys continued their excellent run of form by thumping Treviso 42-7. The Ospreys, who called on the services of lock Rynier Bernardo in the 59th minute, are the only unbeaten side in all competitions so far this season. His direct opposite, Meyer Swanepoel, was on duty for Treviso from the 55th.
– Lock Francois van der Merwe captained Racing Métro to a 20-11 victory against the Northampton Saints. No 8 Antonie Claassen, flank Bernard le Roux and lock Juandré Kruger were all retained in Racing's starting team, while prop Brian Mujati and flyhalf Johan Goosen came off the wood in the 63rd and 73rd minutes. The latter kicked a late conversion to deny the Saints a point from the game.
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP
– Fullback Gio Aplon, lock Ross Skeate and prop Albertus Buckle were on duty for Grenoble in their 37-14 loss to the Cardiff Blues. The Blues outscored their opponents five tries to one.
– Former Western Province wing Danie Poolman scored one of seven tries as Connacht trounced La Rochelle 48-12. Lock Cobus Grobler and front rower Rassie Janse van Vuuren turned out for La Rochelle.
– A late try helped Bayonne to a 30-24 victory over the in-form Exeter Chiefs. Props JC Janse van Rensburg and Gert Muller wore the blue and white colours of Bayonne, while flank Don Armand started for the Chiefs.
– The Newport Gwent Dragons secured maximum points after a shock 28-22 victory over hosts Stade Français. Ex-Sharks centre Meyer Bosman grabbed the only try for Stade, while lock Rynard Landman did service for the Dragons.
– Flyhalf Eugene Jantjies represented the Bucharest Wolves, who suffered a 43-19 defeat at the hands of the Newcastle Falcons. Despite the result, the Wolves leapfrog Stade into third place in this pool, thanks to a superior points difference.
– Lyon clinched a vital 28-18 victory over struggling London Welsh. Ex-Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie started and scored a try for Lyon and No 8 Ben Pienaar started for Welsh.
– A spirited fightback by Edinburgh earned them a 15-13 win against Bordeaux at the Stade André Moga. Centre Andries Strauss, lock Anton Bresler and prop WP Nel played for Edinburgh. Bresler came up against Berend Botha, who started for Bordeaux.
– There was no change in fortunes for hapless Zebre, who were out-muscled 33-24 by Oyonnax in front of their home fans in Parma. Lock Andries Ferreira played for the hosts and fullback Riaan Smit and eighthman Pedrie Wannenburg turned out for Oyonnax.
– Lock Peet Marais and flyhalf Riaan Swanepoel appeared for Brive, who were on the receiving end of a 55-0 drubbing from English counterparts Gloucester.
NEW ZEALAND CUP
– Former Lions and Stormers prop Ross Geldenhuys helped Tasman defeat Canterbury 26-6 in the New Zealand Cup semi-final. The result ended Canterbury's quest to clinch the title for a seventh consecutive year. Geldenhuys has been included in the Highlanders squad for the 2015 Super Rugby tournament.
JAPANESE TOP LEAGUE
– Lock Andries Bekker's try in the first minute of the match helped the Kobelco Steelers to a narrow 17-14 victory over the Canon Eagles. Bekker's ex-Stormers and Bok teammate Jaque Fourie also started for the Steelers.
– Keegan Daniel scored twice in the Kubota Spears' 42-28 win over Jacques Potgieter's Sanix Blues. Both players were named in the run-on XV of their respective teams.
– The Panasonic Wild Knights ran in four converted tries to hammer the NTT Communications Shining Arcs 43-13. Bok wing JP Pietersen played for Panasonic from the 61st minute, while former Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies turned out for the Shining Arcs from the 59th.
– The Toyota Industries Shuttles went down 54-33 to the NEC Green Rockets, despite a try from Ryan Kankowski. The ex-Sharks flank came off the bench in the 59th minute and scored 10 minutes later.
– NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes suffered a heavy 61-12 defeat at the hands of Bok flank Schalk Burger's Suntory Sungoliath. Heinrich Brüssow again found his way over the tryline in a losing cause and was joined by Wimpie van der Walt and Riaan Viljoen in the 40th and 51st minutes. Burger was replaced by Justin Downey with a minute left on the clock.
– Jean Deysel started for Toyota Verblitz, who scored a late try to narrowly defeat the Ricoh Black Rams 13-12. Replacement flyhalf Louis Fouché did service for the Black Rams in the last 12 minutes.
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images