Saffas Abroad: Koch helps Sarries go second

Springbok prop Vincent Koch put in a powerhouse performance to help Saracens beat a 14-man Sale Sharks to move up to second in the Premiership this past weekend.

Starting at tighthead for Saracens, Koch scored one of his team’s three tries to help punish an ill-disciplined performance from Sale, who lost Namibian-born wing Byron McGuigan to a red card minutes into the second half.

Koch was also dominant in the scrums up against England loosehead Bevan Rodd, whom he also faced during the November Tests. In total, Koch made six carries for 20 metres and 14 tackles before he was replaced in the 66th minute.

Sale Sharks fielded a lineup stacked with South Africans, including Akker van der MerweNick SchonertJean-Luc du PreezLood de JagerJono RossDaniel du Preez and Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Bok lock De Jager and hooker Van der Merwe struggled to get Sale’s lineout functioning as they were excellently disrupted in this department by England’s Maro Itoje.

Daniel du Preez was the most impressive of Sale’s South African contingent, making 86m from 20 carries, eight passes, five tackles, beating three defenders, making one clean break and winning a turnover.

In the upset of the weekend, former Cheetahs and Sharks centre Benhard Janse van Rensburg put in a man-of-the-match display as mid-table London Irish stunned defending champions Harlequins with a 22-19 upset.

Janse van Rensburg was playing opposite Andre Esterhuizen but outshone the Springbok and Harlequins player to help London Irish pick up just a second win of the campaign.

In total, the 24-year-old made 16 carries for 50m, missed just two of his 15 tackle attempts, won two turnovers and beat four defenders.

Playing alongside Esterhuizen for Harlequins was fullback Tyrone Green and lock Stephan Lewies.

In other results, Juarno Augustus produced another impressive performance at No 8 to help Northampton Saints claim a scintillating 36-20 victory over Bristol Bears. Courtnall Skosan started on the wing for Northampton.

Former Bok scrumhalf Francois Hougaard had a solid outing on the left wing as Wasps’ dramatic late comeback attempt fell narrowly short in a 35-33 loss to Gloucester.

Photo: Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

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Dylan Jack