• Saffas Abroad: Esterhuizen continues pushing for Bok place

    Andre Esterhuizen put on a strong performance to help Harlequins punish an ill-disciplined Gloucester in round 14 of the Premiership this past weekend.

    Esterhuizen returned from having a weekend off and looked to have benefited from the rest as he was at his robust best for Harlequins, who claimed a 59-24 bonus-point win to keep the pressure on the Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears.

    The inside centre made a total of 14 carries and 95 metres, beating four defenders and making three clean breaks, but he also made 16 passes, two offloads and picked up a try assist in an excellent all-round performance.

    A red card in December aside, Esterhuizen has been in good form for Harlequins this season and should be pushing Damian de Allende for the Springbok No 12 jersey.

    Also excelling for Harlequins was Tyrone Green as the wing made 94m from 12 carries, beating four defenders and making two clean breaks.

    Meanwhile, it was a good weekend for the Sale Sharks as their South African-filled team bounced back from the previous round’s loss to the Northampton Saints by putting London Irish to the sword in a 41-13 win.

    Springbok lock Lood de Jager got on the scoresheet for his third try in three games, while Namibian-born, Cape Town-raised wing Byron McGuigan scored a hat-trick of tries.

    In total, De Jager played the full 80 minutes and made 10 carries and 11 tackles, winning five lineouts. His form since returning from a third successive injury should have the Springbok coaches delighted.

    Also in action for Sale was the halfback pair of Faf de Klerk and Robert du Preez as well as No 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, flank Jono Ross, tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen and hooker Akker van der Merwe.

    Van der Merwe also had a good game, with six carries for 34m, beating three defenders and making three clean breaks.

    Jacques Vermeulen put in a solid shift as the Exeter Chiefs held out against a spirited comeback from 14-man Leicester Tigers to win 47-31.

    The loose forward rounded off the scoring with a try in the 73rd minute. In total, Vermeulen made 13 carries and completed six of his tackles, while he also beat three defenders. Lock Jannes Kirsten also started and completed all 10 of his tackle attempts, while making 12 carries.

    It was not a good outing for Kobus van Wyk as the Leicester wing was red-carded in the first half for a dangerous high tackle.

    Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Harlequins

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    Dylan Jack