Saffas Abroad: Kriel back with a bang

Springbok centre Jesse Kriel marked his return from injury with a try in Japan’s Division One, where Lood de Jager continued his excellent form.

– Northampton Saints continued their impressive season by reinforcing their place at the top of the Premiership with a 40-17 victory over Leicester Tigers. Juarno Augustus played the full 80 minutes at No 8 for Northampton, up against Springbok Jasper Wiese, who scored a try for Leicester but was yellow carded for repeated infringements. Handre Pollard kicked a penalty and two conversions for Leicester, who were reduced to 14 men for the last 20 minutes.

– Bath, coached by Johann van Graan, stayed in touch of Saints by claiming a vital 26-14 away win against Exeter Chiefs. Thomas du Toit, lock Jacques du Plessis and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder all played off the bench for Bath. Loose forward Jacques Vermeulen started for Exeter, who have lost four of their last five games.

– Sale Sharks boosted their playoff hopes by holding out to beat Harlequins 37-31. Locks Cobus Wiese and Hyron Andrews, loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez and centre Robert du Preez all played for sixth-place Sale, who lifted themselves to within two points of fifth-placed Harlequins. Captain Stephan Lewies was once again joined by lock partner Irne Herbst in Harlequins’ second row, while Andre Esterhuizen started at inside centre and Tyrone Green played at fullback.

– Centre Benhard Janse van Rensburg scored a brace as Bristol Bears demolished struggling Newcastle Falcons 85-14. Janse van Rensburg also took charge of the kicking responsibilities in the final 10 minutes and slotted a conversion. Former Cheetahs and Sharks flank Philip van der Walt started for last-placed Newcastle.

Top 14
– La Rochelle suffered more disappointment following their European exit in a 25-24 loss to playoff-hunting Castres. Raymond Rhule made his second appearance of the season for La Rochelle as a substitute.

– Perpignan cut the gap on the top six to just one point by beating struggling Lyon 51-20 to earn their fourth win in a row. Springbok lock Marvin Orie played off the bench for Perpignan, while Lyon, just four points above the relegation playoff place, had Arno Botha at No 8.

– Fullback Tristan Tedder produced another assured display to steer Racing 92 to a 43-13 victory over last-placed Oyonnax. Tedder scored a try and kicked five conversions and a penalty for a haul of 18 points, taking his overall season tally to 146. Trevor Nyakane also started for Racing, who cut the gap on second-placed Toulouse to four points.

– League leaders Stade Francais came back from a 24-7 half-time deficit to beat Bayonne 28-24 and extend their lead to six points. Jeremy Ward started at outside centre for the Parisians, while veteran No 8 Uzair Cassiem started for Bayonne.

– Montpellier missed out on an opportunity to escape the relegation zone after suffering a 31-23 loss to Pau. Loose forward Nico Janse van Rensburg captained Montpellier, who had Cobus Reinach at scrumhalf.

Japan League One
– Jesse Kriel marked his return from a wrist injury with a try in Canon Eagles’ 43-19 win against Mitsubishi Dynaboars. Kriel played off the bench and scored in the 68th minute as the fourth-placed Eagles put a 12-point gap between themselves and the playoff hunters. Rohan Janse van Rensburg also scored a try for the Eagles.

– Lood de Jager continued his excellent form since recovering from a heart condition by scoring a quickfire brace in Wild Knights’ 40-7 victory over Toyota Verblitz. The Springbok lock scored his first try in the fourth minute and dotted down four minutes later to complete his brace as the league leaders stayed unbeaten in 14 games. Damian de Allende returned from a rest at inside centre for the Knights, while Pieter-Steph du Toit was at No 8 for Verblitz.

– Defending champions Kubota Spears bounced back from a struggling run of form by beating Kobe Steel 39-29. Lock Ruan Botha and flank Lappies Labuschagne scored a try each for Frans Ludeke’s Spears, who had JD Schickerling on the bench.

Photo: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

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