SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Top 14, PRO14 and Premiership Rugby Cup matches involving South African players.
– The Cheetahs got their Pro14 campaign off to a flying start by hammering the Glasgow Warriors 48-14 in Bloemfontein. Wing Kyle Steyn was a standout player in a struggling Warriors team, setting up their only try of the match before being replaced in the second half. Flyhalf Brandon Thomson and loosehead prop Oli Kebble also started for Glasgow, but neither enjoyed a particularly memorable match.
– Ulster signalled their intent for the season by claiming a bonus-point 38-14 home win over the Ospreys. Lead by hooker Rob Herring, Ulster brought utility back Louis Ludik off the bench with under 10 minutes to go. The Ospreys had veteran tighthead prop Tom Botha in their starting lineup.
– Arno Botha shone for Munster as they produced a clinical display for a bonus-point 39-9 victory over the Dragons. The former Bulls No 8 made a total of 11 tackles while making 21 metres from 14 carries and scoring the opening try of the match. He was joined in Munster’s loose trio by Chris Cloete, who was a second-half replacement. Loosehead prop Brok Harris started for the Dragons.
– Uzair Cassiem put in a strong display for the Scarlets as they narrowly beat Connacht 18-10. Cassiem made 12 tackles and eight carries before being replaced with 20 minutes to go. Veteran tighthead prop Werner Kruger was on the bench for the Scarlets. Irish-capped lock Quinn Roux, who missed out on selection for the World Cup, started for Connacht.
– Defending champions Leinster were made to work hard to beat a 14-man Benetton Treviso 32-27 in Italy. Eli Snyman made his first appearance for Treviso since joining from the Vodacom Bulls in a South African lock pairing with Irne Herbst.
– Former Lions scrumhalf Nic Groom made an excellent start to life in the PRO14 by captaining Edinburgh to a 50-15 win against Zebre. Groom was handed the captain’s armband in his first appearance for the Scottish club since joining from the Lions and crossed in the first half for one of their seven tries. Flyhalf Jaco van der Walt kicked five conversions and a penalty for a personal haul of 13 points. Wing Duhan van der Merwe and loosehead prop Pierre Schoeman both started for Edinburgh, while former Kings hooker Mike Willemse made his debut from the bench. Francois Brummer kicked a conversion and penalty for Zebre.
PREMIERSHIP RUGBY CUP
– Gloucester suffered their second consecutive defeat in the Cup after narrowly losing 20-17 to the Bristol Bears. Lock Gerbrandt Grobler made it a tense finish to the match by scoring his first try of the season to put Gloucester within three points with three minutes to go. Tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer and No 8 Ruan Ackermann both started for Gloucester.
– Ex-Bulls loose forwards Hanro Liebenberg and Jannes Kirsten were on opposing sides as the Leicester Tigers claimed 27-7 victory over the Exeter Chiefs. Liebenberg started for the Tigers, while Kirsten was in action for the Chiefs. Jacques Vermeulen started at No 8 for the Chiefs.
– Bath bounced back from their opening-round loss after a nailbiting 36-28 win against the Worcester Warriors. Francois Hougaard scored after the hooter to rescue a four-try bonus point for the Warriors, who also had tighthead prop Nic Schonert and No 8 Cornell du Preez in their starting lineup.
– Travis Ismaiel came off the bench for Harlequins in their 21-18 win over the London Irish. The victory kept Harlequins unbeaten and top of Pool 2. Experienced lock Franco van der Merwe and tighthead prop Pat Cillers started for the London Irish.
– Nizaam Carr scored a try for Wasps as they claimed a valuable 36-32 away win against the Northampton Saints. Carr went over in the second half for one of Wasps’ six tries as they opened their account in Pool 1. Hooker Michael van Vurren was a second-half replacement for the Saints.
– The Du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Daniel, both scored a try to help the Sale Sharks beat Saracens 36-17 in London. Jean-Luc opened the scoring in the 12th minute before Daniel capped off the win in the 78th minute. On-loan Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier started his first match for the Sharks, while Damian Willemse – on loan from the Stormers – made his first start at flyhalf for Saracens.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Minnows Brive secured a stunning 39-17 bonus-point win over Toulon at home. The result lifts Brive from the foot of the standings up to 12th spot. Locks Peet Marais and Jan Uys played for Brive. Bok trio Wilco Louw, Marcel van der Merwe and Louis Schreuder represented Toulon.
#TOP14 | L’image de la J5
Recette de la relance à la sauce @RCTofficiel : prenez la vitesse d’Ikpefan ajoutez l’adresse de Cordin puis faites revenir le tout avec la dextérité d’Hériteau avant de saupoudrer le plat d’une chistera de Schreuder ! Attention c’est bouillant ! 👨🍳🔥 pic.twitter.com/4meOOcsmIp
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) September 28, 2019
– Centre Johann Sadie and his Age teammates slumped to an agonising 30-27 defeat by Castres. Club veterans Rory Kockott, Rob Ebersohn and Jody Jenneker were influential for Castres, who scored three tries.
– A 14-man Bayonne side, featuring Hansie Graaff at fullback, defied the odds as they claimed a thrilling 23-22 victory over La Rochelle. Former Bulls flank Wiaan Liebenberg started for La Rochelle, who have made an indifferent start to the campaign and are sitting in eighth place on the log.
– Maks van Dyk formed part the Toulouse outfit that claimed a nervy 24-23 win over Pau. The reigning champions are still in the bottom half of the table, though. Prop Lourens Adriaanse scrummed down at tighthead for Pau, who are third on the log.
– The second-ranked Bordeaux converted a last-gasp penalty to snatch a 17-17 draw with a star-studded Montpellier side. Inside centre Johan Goosen, flyhalf Henry Immelman, locks Jacques du Plessis and Paul Willemse and prop Jannie du Plessis turned out for Montpellier, who dropped down to sixth spot.
– Log-leaders Lyon inflicted a 31-20 defeat on the struggling Racing 92. The highflying Lyon, who have now chalked up 22 log points out of a possible 25 in the opening five rounds of the competition, had locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen in their ranks.
– Much like Racing, the other Parisian side – Stade Français – are also in dire straits. Coach Heyneke Meyer’s team suffered a 32-18 loss against Clermont at home. Wing Ruan Combrinck, flyhalf Morne Steyn, No 8 Josh Strauss and flank Willem Alberts featured for Stade. Jaco van Tonder and Rudy Paige were second-half substitutions for Clermont. Stade and their city rivals Racing are now the two lowest-ranked teams in the competition.
Photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images