SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s French Top 14 and Major League Rugby semi-finals involving South African players.
– Toulouse have the opportunity to claim their first title since 2012 after beating La Rochelle 20-6. Cheslin Kolbe, Rynhardt Elstadt and replacement Maks van Dyk continued their outstanding form for Toulouse this season. Kolbe scored a wonderful try, beating four defenders with a sidestep right from the touchline before showing good strength to power over. Tighthead prop Van Dyk put in a strong 20-minute shift off the bench, making 12 carries and gaining 20 metres. Wiaan Liebenberg started for La Rochelle, who missed out on the chance to claim their first ever French title.
Kolbe. It’s always Kolbe.pic.twitter.com/IyUCSNJFSo
— TheRugbyPaper (@TheRugbyPaper) June 9, 2019
Kolbe’s semi-final v La Rochelle 😱
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) June 10, 2019
– Clermont will face Toulouse in the final after powering to a 33-13 victory over Lyon. No 8, Deon Fourie, and locks Etienne Oosthuizen and Hendrik Roodt all played for Lyon. Despite the loss, Fourie impressed in his final game for Lyon, scoring a try from a driving maul, while making 66 metres from 19 carries, the most in the game.
Major League Rugby
– Captain Joe Pietersen kicked the winning conversion as the San Diego Legion progressed to the final with a last-gasp 24-22 victory over Rugby United New York. With New York leading 22-17, San Diego centre JP du Plessis, older brother of Blitzboks youngster Muller, picked up an awkward pass and drove over the line for what turned into the winning try. In total, Pietersen kicked three conversions and a penalty in the match. Hooker Dean Muir was a replacement for the Legion.
THE LEGION WIN!!! A last minute drive sees @jpdup13 grabbing the ball off the ground and driving in for the try to tie the game with one minute to play.
— San Diego Legion (@SDLegion) June 9, 2019
– The Seattle Seawolves will face San Diego in the final after beating the Toronto Arrows 30-17 in their semi-final. Scrumhalf JP Smith and hooker Stephan Coetzee started for the Seawolves, who were captained by No 8, Riekert Hattingh. Smith scored the opening try for the Seawolves, who had to survive a second-half comeback from the Arrows.
Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images