SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s European Champions and Challenge Cup finals, as well as the Major League Rugby games.
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP
– Brad Barritt led Saracens to their third European title as they came from behind to beat Leinster 20-10 in the final in Newcastle. Barritt put in an enormous defensive shift in midfield, making 28 tackles without missing a single tackle attempt, while also running 54m from 16 carries. Vincent Koch had to come off the bench in the 29th minute and also impressed, making 40m with ball in hand along with 10 tackles. Schalk Burger made an appearance as a late replacement, and won a turnover after the hooter that allowed Saracens to kick the ball into touch and end the match.
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP
– Clermont claimed their third Challenge Cup by beating French rivals La Rochelle 36-16 in the final. Wiaan Liebenberg was at flank for La Rochelle and made 44m from five carries, 15 tackles, as well as a clean break and an offload.
MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY
– The Toronto Arrows defeated Austin Elite 24-13 in their rescheduled encounter at home on Thursday. Hooker Tiaan Erasmus, lock Rikus Zwart, flank Kyle Breytenbach and fullback Zinzan Elan-Puttick played for Austin Elite, while prop Rob Brouwer started for Toronto.
– The Toronto Arrows, with prop Rob Brouwer in their front row, secured a second bonus-point win in as many days when they beat the Utah Warriors 28-21. Loosehead prop Franco van den Berg represented the seventh-ranked Warriors. The win saw Toronto move up to third in the rankings.
– Outside centre Tristan Blewett’s brace of tries for New Orleans Gold was in vain as they stumbled to a 26-19 defeat against captain Joe Pietersen’s San Diego Legion. Loosehead prop Hubert Buydens and fullback JP Eloff featured alongside Blewett for Nola Gold. Outside centre JP du Plessis, who scored a try, played with Pietersen, who knocked over two conversions, for San Diego.
– No 8 Riekert Hattingh and scrumhalf JP Smith starred for the Seattle Seawolves in their riveting 38-31 victory over Rugby United New York. Hattingh and Smith, who scored a try each, played with hooker Stephan Coetzee for the winners, who still sit top of the table.