Faf de Klerk was among the Springboks who bid Sale Sharks farewell as the Premiership and French Top 14 playoffs were confirmed on Saturday and Sunday.
Who’s making the #GallagherPremFinal?
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) June 4, 2022
Outgoing Springboks Faf de Klerk, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Lood de Jager all starred in their final appearance for Sale Sharks in a 42-19 six-try victory over Bristol Bears.
Akker van der Merwe and Dan du Preez both scored a try each for Sale, while lock Cobus Wiese bagged a brace and flyhalf Robert du Preez kicked four conversions. Jean-Luc du Preez and prop Coenie Oosthuizen were also in action for the Sharks, who ended the season in sixth place.
Northampton Saints secured their place in the semi-finals by powering to a 65-26 10-try win over Newcastle Falcons.
Juarno Augustus and Courtnall Skosan both came off the bench for Northampton, with Skosan scoring a try.
Leicester Tigers went undefeated in the Premiership for the first time in 20 years with a 20-10 win over Wasps.
Loose forwards Jasper Wiese and Hanro Liebenberg started for Leicester. Wiese made 14 carries for 54 metres, beating six defenders in the process, while he also made 13 tackles and won a turnover.
Gloucester finished their season on a high with a convincing 54-7 home win over Saracens, though it was not enough to secure a semi-final berth.
Ruan Ackermann started at No 8 for Gloucester, making 56m from 16 carries, beating four defenders and completing eight tackles. Ivan van Zyl was the only South African involved in a much-changed Saracens outfit.
Exeter Chiefs scored seven tries to finish their season in style with victory over Harelquins.
Tyrone Green made a try-scoring return from injury at fullback for Harlequins, who will face Saracens in the semi-finals. Andre Esterhuizen, Wilco Louw and Stephan Lewies also featured for Harlequins.
Jacques Vermeulen started for Exeter.
Worcester Warriors leapfrogged opponents Bath at the bottom of the table on the final day.
Duhan van der Merwe and Francois Venter started for Worcester, while flank Jaco Coetzee and hooker Jacques du Toit were in action for Bath.
Top 14 barrages featuring three of the four Champions Cup semi-finalists
Castres’ reward for finishing top of the table is a semi against either the reigning French champions or the reigning European champions
Next week will be worth watching! pic.twitter.com/MSZq0Ypv9a
— Paul Eddison (@pauleddison) June 5, 2022
Flyhalf Tristan Tedder kicked two conversions and a penalty to help Perpignan finish the season strongly with a 22-15 win over Bordeaux, who finished in third place and will host Racing 92 in the first round of playoffs.
Montpellier ended the season in second after being beaten 20-15 by Clermont, who narrowly missed out on the playoffs, on the final day. Jan Serfontein and flank Nico Janse van Rensburg started for Montpellier, while prop Robert Rodgers and Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard came off the bench. Montpellier will host the winner of the Bordeaux vs Racing 92 playoff in the semi-finals.
Fresh from winning the Champions Cup, La Rochelle confirmed their place in the first round of playoffs by claiming a 29-26 victory over Lyon. Raymond Rhule and Wiaan Liebenberg both started for La Rochelle, who were without Dillyn Leyds due to injury. La Rochelle will travel to Toulouse in the qualifier.
Brive finished their campaign in 12th position thanks to a 33-17 win away to Stade Francais, who ended in 11 place. Former Cheetahs centre Nico Lee started for Brive, while scrumhalf James Hall started for Stade.
Springbok tighthead prop Trevor Nyakane helped Racing 92 deny Toulon and Bok teammates Eben Etzebeth and Cheslin Kolbe a place in the Top 14 playoffs with a 21-16 victory. The results meant that Toulon finished in eighth place, five points off the top six.
— Saffas Abroad Rugby (@SaffasRugby) June 6, 2022
Toulouse set up a revenge clash of last season’s final with Racing 92 in the playoffs after crushing relegated Biarritz 80-7 in a 12-try blitz. Joe Jonas was at fullback for Biarritz, who will be playing in the Pro D2 next season.
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) June 5, 2022
Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images