SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s European Champions Cup matches involving South African players.
– Lyon ended a run of eight successive defeats in Europe by scoring four tries for a 28-0 victory over Benetton. Hendrik Roodt started for the French side, who climbed off the bottom of Pool 1.
– Leinster laid down a marker to challenge for top honours by thrashing the in-form Northampton Saints 43-16 at Franklin’s Gardens. Cobus Reinach started for the Saints and made an incredible try-saving tackle, to go with his 67 passes and seven carries. The Saints also brought loosehead prop Francois van Wyk and hooker Michael van Vuuren off the bench.
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) December 9, 2019
– Kyle Steyn was the hero for the Glasgow Warriors as the PRO14 side fought back from an 18-6 deficit to beat La Rochelle 27-24 in a thrilling encounter. Steyn replaced South African-born Canadian wing DTH van der Merwe in the 53rd minute and turned in an incredible cameo, which included two carries for 70 metres, two clean breaks and the eventual match-winning try in the 63rd minute. It ended a whirlwind week for the 25-year-old, who celebrated signing a new deal for his club in style. The win moves the Warriors into second place in the pool, trailing leaders the Exeter Chiefs by six points.
Comeback complete four points
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) December 8, 2019
– Akker van der Merwe scored a brace for the Sale Sharks but it was not enough as they lost 22-20 to the Exeter Chiefs, after trailing 22-13 at the break. Van der Merwe scored two quickfire tries in the first half, before captain Jono Ross went over in the second half to make it a two-point game. Faf de Klerk and Robert du Preez formed the halfback combo for the Sharks, who had Rohan Janse van Rensburg at inside centre and Coenie Oosthuizen at loosehead prop. Jacques Vermeulen started at flank for the Chiefs and made 17 tackles, missing one, and five carries.
– A 78th-minute penalty had Ulster claiming a last-gasp 25-24 win over Harlequins. Marcell Coetzee was again at No 8 for Ulster and made a massive 16 carries to go with six tackles for the home side. Louis Ludik shifted to the wing and made 74m for Ulster along with two clean breaks. Harlequins had former Bulls wing Travis Ismaiel in their starting lineup, as well as lock Stephan Lewies.
– Clermont scored three second-half tries to beat Bath 34-17 after being held to a 7-7 stalemate at half time. Bath had former Springbok Francois Louw at No 8 and he made 13 tackles and won a turnover.
– Racing 92 continued to set the pace in Pool 4 as they hammered the Ospreys 40-19 for a bonus-point victory. French-capped duo lock Bernard le Roux and No 8 Antonie Claassen started for Racing. Wing Hanno Dirksen started for the Ospreys and got on the scoresheet with a try in the seventh minute before being replaced by Shaun Venter in the second half, with on-loan lock Marvin Orie also a substitute for the home side.
– Munster held out to claim a vital 10-3 win over Saracens. CJ Stander and Jean Kleyn both started for Munster. Stander had an impressive outing as he made 27m from 17 carries, along with 17 tackles. The No 8’s replacement, Arno Botha, was shown a red card after the hooter for a dangerous tackle. Brad Barritt played his 250th game for Saracens.
– Gloucester boosted their hopes of making it through the pool stages as they picked up all five points in a 26-17 bonus-point win over Connacht. Flank Ruan Ackermann, locks Franco Mostert and Gerbrandt Grobler, and hooker Franco Marais all started for Gloucester. Ackermann made 11 carries for 26m and won a turnover, while Mostert made six tackles and was credited with a try assist. Ireland lock Quinn Roux started for Connacht.
– Cheslin Kolbe made his much-awaited return to the field as a substitute for Toulouse as the French side won 25-9 in their derby against Montpellier. Kolbe came on in the 55th minute and made two carries for 12m and one clean break. Bok flank Rynhardt Elstadt started for Toulouse and made 11 tackles, missing two. Montpellier had fullback Henry Immelman, centre Frans Steyn, hooker Bismarck du Plessis and lock Nico Janse van Rensburg and Paul Willemse in their starting lineup, with flyhalf Johan Goosen a substitute. Steyn kicked one of Montpellier’s three penalties and made one clean break.
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