SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Premiership, Top 14, Pro14 and Major League Rugby matches involving South African players.
– Saracens took advantage of the Exeter Chiefs’ slip-up with a 33-10 win against the Leicester Tigers to lift the defending champions back to the top of the table. Centre Brad Barritt and tighthead prop Vincent Koch were both part of Saracens’ starting lineup, with Michael Rhodes coming off the bench in the 54th minute and making five tackles.
– The Harlequins made a bright return to Premiership action by beating the Worcester Warriors 47-33. Warriors centre Francois Venter was typically full of running, making 47m from 14 carries while scrumhalf Francois Hougaard made five tackles and won two turnovers. The Warriors also had tighthead prop Nic Schonert, lock Anton Bresler and No 8 Gerrit Jan van Velze in their pack.
– Francois Louw was among the try-scorers as Bath avenged their early season loss to Newcastle by handing the Falcons a bonus-point 30-13 defeat. Louw, who also made a total of 15 tackles and two turnovers, burrowed over from close range for Bath’s fourth try of the match. Also in action for Bath was loosehead prop Jacques van Rooyen, who came off the bench in the second half. Meanwhile, Kyle Cooper had a solid outing for Newcastle, making nine carries and nine tackles before being replaced in the final 12 minutes.
– Cobus Reinach continued his exceptional try-scoring form to win the battle of the South African scrumhalves as the Northampton Saints demolished the Sale Sharks 67-17. Reinach opened the scoring with a try in the sixth minute before adding a second five minutes later, finishing with stats of 80 metres run, six tackles made and taking his overally tally to eight tries for the season. He easily outshone countryman Faf de Klerk, who had a disappointing outing for the Sharks by his high standards. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jono Ross and substitute flank Josh Strauss all did duty for the Sharks, while Heinrich Brussow was a replacement for the Saints.
– Gloucester caused the upset of the round as they beat the table-topping Exeter Chiefs 24-17 to provide a twist in the title race. Ruan Ackermann made his Premiership return from a knee injury, making 30 metres with ball in hand over 70 minutes before being replaced. Springbok lock Franco Mostert had a big impact for Gloucester, making 10 tackles, 14 carries and winning a turnover in a solid all-round performance. Former Sharks hooker Franco Marais was also in the Gloucester pack, while lock Gerbrandt Grobler was a second-half replacement for Johan Ackermann’s team.
– Nizaam Carr scored a first-half try to help Wasps hold on to claim a 29-22 victory over the Bristol Bears. The No 8 was on hand to beat his man and finish off an intercept try. Willie Le Roux set up a further try at fullback for Wasps, who had Juan de Jongh at inside centre and Ashley Johnson at blindside flank.
– The Seattle Seawolves fought back from a 13-point second-half deficit to claim a 35-30 victory against the Toronto Arrows and keep their unbeaten record at home this season. The Seawolves had hooker Stephan Coetzee and No 8 Riekert Hattingh, while scrumhalf JP Smith had a good impact on the match off the bench.
– Rugby United New York were involved in an end-to-end clash with league leaders NOLA Gold, but came out on top with a 27-24 victory. Pretoria-born fullback JP Eloff kicked two conversions and set up a try for the Gold, who had Tristan Blewett on the wing.
– JP du Plessis was among the try-scorers as the San Diego Legion beat the Utah Warriors 21-10. Legion captain Joe Pietersen showed his composure to slot three crucial penalties and help them to their third straight win at home. Hooker Dean Muir was also in action for the Legion, while the Warriors had former Junior Bok loosehead prop Franco van den Berg in their lineup.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Lock Flip van der Merwe featured in the Clermont side that whacked Bordeaux 40-20 at home. The victory keeps Clermont in second position on the log. Bordeaux are fifth.
– Prop Lourens Adriaanse and his Pau teammates suffered an agonising 14-9 defeat against Castres. Hooker Jody Jenneker, scrumhalf Rory Kockott and centre Robert Ebersohn started for Castres, who are now up to eight on the log.
– Montpellier’s mystifying slump in form continued with a humiliating 28-10 loss against bottom-of-the-table Perpignan at home. Montpellier had fullback Frans Steyn, centres Johan Goosen and Jan Serfontein, wing Henry Immelman, No 8 Jacques du Plessis, lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and front rowers Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis in their star-studded lineup, while Ruan Pienaar was an unused substitute. Prop Gert Muller and lock Bêrend Botha played for Perpignan.
– Lyon, featuring locks Hendrik Roodt and Francois van der Merwe, eighthman Deon Fourie and scrumhalf Charl McLeod, upset Stade Français 24-13 in Paris. Bok trio Willem Alberts, Piet van Zyl and Morné Steyn were on duty for Stade.
– Toulon’s misery continued when they lost 19-10 against Agen. Ex-Bok duo Juandré Kruger and Marcel van der Merwe were in Toulon’s run-on XV. Another old Bok, Ricky Januarie, came on as a replacement for Agen.
– Wing Raymond Rhule and prop Jacob Janse van Rensburg were part of the Grenoble side that lost 28-21 to La Rochelle. Flank Wiaan Liebenberg and centre Paul Jordaan did service for La Rochelle.
– Toulouse emerged 34-29 victors from their enticing battle against Racing 92 in Paris. Fullback Cheslin Kolbe and prop Maks van Dyk turned out for the table-topping Toulouse, while No 8 Antonie Claassen represented Racing.
– The Glasgow Warriors, with wing Kyle Steyn in their ranks, toppled the Cardiff Blues 38-34 at Arms Park. Glasgow remain second in the Conference A standings. The Blues are fifth in the same conference.
– Dewaldt Duvenhage and Irné Herbst started for Treviso, who beat the Scarlets 25-19. Ex-Springbok forwards Werner Kruger and Uzair Cassiem were starters for the Scarlets, who are languishing in fifth spot in Conference B. Treviso are up third on the log.
– Lock Jean Kleyn scored a try and was named Man of the Match in Munster’s 43-0 dismantling of the Kings. Loose forwards Chris Cloete and Arno Botha started alongside Kleyn for Munster, who leads the way in Conference A.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) February 15, 2019
– Leinster eased past hosts Zebre 40-24 to extend their lead at the top of Conference B to 12 log points. Fullback Francois Brummer, who scored a brace, and hooker Luhandré Luus played for Zebre.
– The Ospreys had Hanno Dirksen on the wing and Tom Botha at tighthead prop when they lost 8-0 to Ulster. Wing Louis Ludik and hooker Rob Herring earned starting berths for Ulster.
– Wing Duhan van der Merwe bagged two tries for Edinburgh in their 34-17 victory over the Dragons. Flyhalf Jaco van der Walt also contributed handily with three conversions and a penalty for a nine-point haul. They were joined by compatriot Pierre Schoeman in Edinburgh’s lineup. Centre Jarryd Sage, prop Brok Harris and fullback Zane Kirchner turned out for the Dragons.
?️ “It was a massive win for us. It was ugly, but we’ll take those five points.”
— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) February 15, 2019
Compiled by Dylan Jack and Mariette Adams