Saffas sizzle across Europe looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14 and Six Nations matches, involving South African players.


– Bath, with Francois Louw at flank, slumped to a 35-28 defeat against Harlequins at The Stoop. The winners outscored Bath four tries to one to move up to sixth on the log.

– Wasps returned to winning ways with a thrilling 36-24 win over the Leicester Tigers at Ricoh Arena. The contest pitted hooker Ashley Johnson and Michael van Vuuren against each other, but it was Johnson who won the battle up front against his compatriot. The result takes Wasps up to third in the standings.

– Lock Victor Matfield and his Northampton Saints teammates recorded a 26-11 bonus-point victory against the Sale Sharks at Franklin's Gardens. Prop Brian Mujati was named in Sale's starting lineup. The Saints now occupy the last playoff spot on the log, while Sale drop to eighth.

– Outside centre Wynand Olivier, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze and tighthead prop Nic Schonert were in the Worcester Warriors side that claimed a much-needed 28-20 home victory over Gloucester. The win took the Warriors 13 points clear of the relegation zone.

– The second-placed Exeter Chiefs thumped the Newcastle Falcons 32-17 at Sandy Park. Flank Don Armand featured heavily for the winners, while lock Mouritz Botha was on duty for the Falcons.

– Saracens, with inside centre Brad Barritt and flank Michael Rhodes in their run-on XV, were the only away team to win this past weekend as they beat hosts London Irish 26-16. Prop Petrus du Plessis, lock Alistair Hargreaves and scrumhalf Neil de Kock played off the bench for Sarries, who strengthened their position at the top of the table.


– Toulouse kicked a late penalty to snatch a 13-13 draw against Bordeaux at home. Loosehead props Gurthrö Steenkamp played for Toulouse, while Steven Kitshoff did so for Bordeaux. Lock Jandré Marais started alongside Kitshoff for the visitors, who are now fourth on the log. Toulouse have fallen off the pace a little and are ranked sixth.

– Racing secured bragging rights after thumping city rivals Stade Français 34-16 away from home. Morné Steyn, who started alongside flank Willem Alberts and No 8 Jono Ross, kicked 11 points (a conversion and three penalties) for Stade, but it was his former Bok teammate Johan Goosen who was at the forefront of the Paris derby. Having come on early in the second half, Goosen scored a try and nailed three conversions for an 11-point haul to guide Racing to an emphatic victory. Locks Juandré Kruger and Francois van der Merwe as well as No 8 Antonie Claassen were in the winners' starting team.

– Scrumhalf Rory Kockott turned out for Castres, who scored seven unanswered tries to hammer Agen 50-6. Flank Marco Kotzé and flyhalf Burton Francis did service for Agen, with the latter accounting for his team's points via two first-half penalties.

– Clermont clinched a 25-6 bonus-point win against Brive to consolidate their place in the top two on the log. Lock Flip van der Merwe, prop Dan Kotzé and hooker Marthinus van Schalkwyk donned the colours of Clermont. Second row duo Johan Snyman and Peet Marais, prop Kevin Buys and flank Paul Hauman represented Brive, who are in the bottom half of the table.

– La Rochelle were also able to pick up maximum log points from their match against Pau after securing a 35-16 win at home. Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie played 70 minutes for the winning team.

– Toulon recorded an emphatic 38-8 bonus-point triumph over Grenoble in Mayol. Bok loose forwards Duane Vermeulen and Juan Smith started for the hosts and managed to score a try apiece. Lock Hendrik Roodt played a 25-minute cameo for Grenoble, who are languishing in 10th spot. Toulon are third behind Racing and Clermont.

– Montpellier's impressive run of form continued with a comfortable 31-10 away win against Oyonnax. Locks Jacques du Plessis and Paul Willemse, flank Wiaan Liebenberg, No 8 Pierre Spies, flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis and centre pairing Frans Steyn and Robert Ebersohn made Montpellier's starting XV, with front rowers Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis completing the match 23. Bismarck and Willemse both barged over for a try, Catrakilis added four conversions and a penalty kick and Jacques du Plessis was yellow-carded. Oyonnax featured eighthman Pedrie Wannenburg and hooker Jody Jenneker, with the latter scoring their only try. Montpellier moved up to fifth after this result and Oyonnax are rock bottom.


– Prop WP Nel and No 8 Josh Strauss started for Scotland, who beat France 29-18 at Murrayfield. It was the first time in 10 years that Scotland had got the better of Les Bleus, who started with Scott Spedding at fullback.

– Flank CJ Stander had another storming game for Ireland in their 58-15 demolition of Italy in Dublin. Lock Quintin Geldenhuys and loose forward Braam Steyn were among the Italian reserves and played off the bench in the second half. 

Compiled by Mariette Adams

Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP Photo

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