• Saffas Abroad: Coetzee shines in PRO14 semis

    SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the South African players who featured for their respective clubs in the PRO14 semi-finals this weekend.

    – Leinster outplayed Irish rivals Munster to progress to their third final in a row as they hunt for their third consecutive PRO14 title. Damian de Allende and CJ Stander started for Johann van Graan’s Munster, who brought flank Chris Cloete on in the second half. De Allende started the match well with a couple of strong carries in the first 20 minutes, but would have wanted to see more of the ball as he ended with just three successful carries. Stander also proved a big threat with ball in- and, while he won two turnovers for his side.

    WATCH: Top moments from Saffas abroad

    – In the second semi-final, Ulster came back from a 19-7 deficit to beat Edinburgh 22-19 thanks to a penalty after the hooter from flyhalf Ian Madigan.  The win had Ulster progress to the PRO14 final for the first time since 2013, where they also faced Leinster and lost. Springbok loose forward Marcell Coetzee, playing at No 8, was instrumental in Ulster’s comeback. Playing the full 80 minutes, Coetzee made another strong statement to be included in the Springbok squad later this year, with 10 tackles (missing two), two turnovers won, 18 carries for 19 metres, four passes and an offload. Coetzee also played a role in Ulster’s first try of the match, carrying strongly out wide before throwing a one-handed offload to a teammate on his inside. Rob Herring was at hooker for Ulster and also enjoyed a good outing, playing 70 minutes and missing none of his 16 tackles, winning a turnover and ensuring Ulster lost only one of their 15 lineouts. He also scored scored Ulster’s second try (to reduce the deficit to 19-12) before he went off. Louis Ludick started as Ulster’s right wing.

    Edinburgh also had a host of South Africans, with WP Nel starting at tighthead prop, Nic Groom and Jaco van der Walt as the halfback pair and Duhan van der Merwe in the No 11 jersey, with loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman and hooker Michael Willemse on the bench. Van der Walt kicked two conversions and assisted one of Edinburgh’s tries. Van der Merwe also had a very good match, making 101m from eight carries, three clean breaks, beating 13 defenders.

    Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images