SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the South African players who featured for their respective clubs in the fifth round of the English Premiership.
*Note: The Worcester Warriors vs Harlequins and London Irish vs Northampton Saints matches were cancelled due to Covid-19 protocols. The Worcester Warriors and Northampton Saints were each awarded four log points, while the London Irish and Harlequins received two points each.
– The Bristol Bears went level on points with the log-leading Exeter Chiefs after running in four tries to secure an impressive 29-17 bonus-point victory over the Newcastle Falcons in the first Premiership match of 2021. Philip van der Walt started at No 8 for Newcastle and put in an impressive performance, making 13 carries for 36 metres, completing all seven of his tackle attempts and winning two turnovers. Newcastle, who are currently third on 16 points, also had former Sharks hooker Kyle Cooper and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder on the bench.
– Wasps put in one of the performances of the season so far to hand the defending champions Exeter their first loss of the season with a 34-5 win. Springbok centre Juan de Jongh started for Wasps and marked his 50th Premiership appearance with an excellent showing at No 13, completing eight out of 10 tackle attempts, making two clean breaks and 28m from four carries. The Exeter Chiefs, meanwhile, had Don Armand at lock, who made a match-high 19 tackles, but were without South African forward duo Jannes Kirsten and Jacques Vermeulen.
— Wasps Rugby (@WaspsRugby) January 2, 2021
– The Sale Sharks came from a 16-9 half-time deficit to beat Gloucester 22-19 in a tense and high-tempered encounter, during which three players were yellow-carded. The Sale Sharks had eight South Africans in their starting lineup: Robert du Preez, who started at outside centre, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, hooker Akker van der Merwe, tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, second-row pair Cobus Wiese and JP du Preez and loose forwards Jono Ross and Daniel du Preez. Gloucester, meanwhile, had No 8 Ruan Ackermann as the only South African in their match-day squad. Daniel du Preez was the pick of the bunch, making 41m from 19 carries, five passes, 10 tackles while beating two defenders. Sale are currently fourth on 15 points, while Gloucester are at the bottom of the table.
– Leicester Tigers came from 14-0 behind to record an impressive 36-31 win over old rivals Bath in a 67-point thriller. Leicester had four South Africans in their staring lineup, including wing Kobus van Wyk, centre Jaco Taute and loose forwards Jasper Wiese and Hanro Liebenberg. Wiese was at the forefront of the action, getting yellow-carded in the 13th minute for a high tackle, but atoning with an excellent performance. In total, Wiese made a massive 88m from 16 carries, three clean breaks, beating nine defenders and completing seven of his eight tackle attempts. Bath had Juan Schoeman on the bench and the former Sharks loosehead played the final seven minutes of the match.
“Coach Steve is really bringing a new environment, a winning environment, into the club and the boys are committed.”
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 3, 2021
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