Saffas Abroad: Etzebeth stands tall in Europe

Here’s a wrap of all the action involving South African players in the European Champions and Challenge Cup semi-finals, including Eben Etzebeth’s performance for Toulon.

European Champions Cup

Leinster advanced to the Champions Cup final as a try double from James Lowe helped them to a 40-17 victory over reigning champions Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Rynhardt Elstadt, who started on the flank for Toulouse, was the only South African involved in the match. The Springbok forward made a superb effort of 23 tackles as he completed the full 80 minutes.

Springbok duo Dillyn Leyds and Raymond Rhule helped La Rochelle reach a second consecutive Champions Cup final after grinding out a 20-13 win over Racing 92 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday.

At fullback for La Rochelle, Leyds made 92 metres from 12 carries, 10 passes and one tackle. Wing Rhule, meanwhile, crossed for a try in the first half, but it was chalked off by the TMO. Rhule made 40m from seven carries, three passes, three tackles and an offload.

Anton Bresler and France-capped Bernard le Roux formed the second-row pair for Racing, who were without Trevor Nyakane as the Bok tighthead prop pulled up with an injury in the warm-up.

European Challenge Cup

Lyon reached a first European final in their history after beating Wasps 20-18 at the Matmut Stadium de Gerland in the first of the Challenge Cup semi-finals on Saturday.  

Francois Hougaard started on the wing for Wasps and turned in a solid performance, which included making four carries, two passes, five tackles and one offload.

Toulon set up a Challenge Cup final against fellow Top 14 side Lyon as two tries from flyer Gabin Villière helped them to a 25-16 victory over Saracens at the Stade Félix Mayol.

Bok lock Etzebeth was superb in the second row for Toulon, in a performance that included six carries and 12 tackles. Scotland-capped flank Cornell du Preez also started for Toulon.

Saracens had Vincent Koch at tighthead prop and Springbok scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl on the bench.

Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

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Dylan Jack