SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's European Champions Cup, European Challenge Cup and Celtic Pro12 matches, involving South African players.
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP QUARTER-FINALS
– Wasps, with hooker Ashley Johnson in their match-day squad, snatched a dramatic 25-24 triumph over the Exeter Chiefs. Despite playing at home, Wasps trailed for most of the 80 minutes before a try in stoppage time narrowed the deficit to one point. The difficult touchline conversion split the uprights to ensure Wasps went through to the semi-finals for the first time since 2007. Lock Don Armand was in the Chiefs' starting lineup.
– A late surge saw Saracens floor bitter rivals the Northampton Saints 29-20 at Allianz Park. Centre Brad Barritt captained Sarries, who also had prop Petrus du Plessis, hooker Schalk Brits, locks Alistair Hargreaves and Michael Rhodes and scrumhalf Neil de Kock in their ranks. Former Bok lock Victor Matfield was seated on the Saints bench.
– Lock Sebastian de Chaves and his Leicester Tigers teammates secured the most comfortable quarter-final win when they hammered Stade Français 41-13 at Welford Road. The hosts ran in six tries, while only conceding one to the struggling French club. Former Bulls duo Morné Steyn (flyhalf) and Jono Ross (flank) started the match for Stade, while flank Willem Alberts and hooker Craig Burden were given second-half cameos off the bench. Steyn kicked a conversion and two penalties for Stade.
– Racing claimed a hard-fought 19-16 win in Paris to end Toulon's European dominance. Outside centre Johann Goosen and lock Francois van der Merwe were on duty for Racing, while back rowers Juan Smith and Duane Vermeulen did service for Toulon. Both teams crossed for a converted try and with three penalty goals either way, the sides were even until the 78th minute when Racing nailed a fourth penalty goal to bring Toulon's three-year run as champions to an end.
Saracens vs Wasps
Leicester Tigers vs Racing 92
EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP QUARTER-FINALS
– Montpellier, with inside centre Frans Steyn, flank Wiaan Liebenberg, lock Paul Willemse and brothers Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis in their ranks, defeated the Sale Sharks 25-19 to book a first-ever spot in the last four of the competition. Willemse scored the crucial opening try, while Bismarck was also in fine form for the winners. Scrumhalf Cameron Wright and centre Robert Ebersohn were used as impact players off Montpellier's bench, with prop Brian Mujati coming off Sale's.
– A late try saw the Newport Gwent Dragons shock defending champions Gloucester 23-21 at Kingsholm Stadium. The hosts outscored the Dragons two tries to one, but six successful penalty goals, including one by fullback Carl Meyer, kept the winners in touch before they struck with a late try to stun Gloucester. Scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, lock Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris represented the Dragons alongside Meyer.
– Harlequins ground out a 38-30 win over London Irish in an eight-try thriller at The Stoop. Prop Richard Palframan played for the Exiles, who put up a valiant fight despite their poor form in the English Premiership.
– Fullback Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and prop Rossouw de Klerk featured for Grenoble in their 33-32 victory over Connacht. Heading into the last five minutes, the winners trailed by two, but a late drop goal secured their passage through to the semi-finals. Wing Danie Poolman and lock Quinn Roux turned out for Connacht.
Harlequins vs Grenoble
Montpellier vs Newport Gwent Dragons
– The Glasgow Warriors rose to third on the log following their comprehensive 43-14 bonus-point win against Zebre away from home. Fullback Kayle van Zyl, No 8 Gideon Koegelenberg and lock Quintin Geldenhuys turned out for the Italian club, who are languishing in 11th spot in the standings.
– Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images