SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches, involving South African players.
– The Exeter Chiefs’ six-match winning streak came to an end when they lost 8-3 to the Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens. Lock Victor Matfield started for the Saints, but had to be replaced after suffering a broken nose. Flank Don Armand represented the Chiefs, who with their sole penalty maintained their record of scoring in every Premiership match played.
– Bath suffered a 19-14 defeat at the hands of the Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park. Lock Mouritz Botha featured for the winners, while Bok flank Francois Louw was used off the wood by Bath, who are now eighth on the log.
– Saracens upheld their 100% winning record against the Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park with a 26-6 thumping of the visitors. Sarries were dominant upfront and were awarded a hat-trick of penalty tries. Centre Brad Barritt, flank Michael Rhodes, tighthead prop Petrus du Plessis and hooker Schalk Brits were on duty for the winners and scrumhalf Neil de Kock sat on the bench. The result sees Saracens extend their lead at the top of the table to six points.
– The Sale Sharks escaped with a 15-9 win over Wasps to end a four-game winless run. In trying weather conditions, the sides were deadlocked at 9-9, but a penalty and drop goal in the final five minutes sealed the result for Sale. Prop Brian Mujati played for the winners and hooker Ashley Johnson for Wasps.
– Centre Wynand Olivier and prop Nic Schonert were part of the Worcester Warriors team that lost 24-20 to Harlequins at Sixways. Quins led 17-3 at the break but conceded two yellow cards, prompting a Warriors fightback. But in the end, the hosts came up short.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Stade Français, with flank Jono Ross and prop Heinke van der Merwe in their ranks, scored a late try to stun Toulouse 18-17 in Paris. The defending champions have struggled for form in the domestic competition this season, especially against teams in the top half of the table. But the win against Toulouse, who entered this round as log leaders, could be what was needed to turn around their fortunes. Flyhalf Morné Steyn and hooker Craig Burden warmed Stade’s bench as did Gert Muller for Toulouse.
– Toulon held off a stirring a Pau comeback to win 21-17 against the competition’s newcomers. The victory keeps Toulon in a play-off spot after 12 rounds. Wing Bryan Habana was dropped to the bench following last weekend’s defeat, but came on as a substitute in the 56th minute. Lock Claude Dry played for Pau from the 71st minute.
– Brive scored the only try of the match to edge Jake White’s Montpellier 19-18. Flank Paul Hauman and locks Peet Marais and Wilhelm Steenkamp turned out for the winners. Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis kept Montpellier in the contest with five penalty goals, but it wasn’t enough. Brothers Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, lock Paul Willemse, flank Wiaan Liebenberg and centre Robert Ebersohn played alongside Catrakilis.
– Racing, with No 8 Antonie Claassen and locks Francois van der Merwe and Juandré Kruger in their lineup, beat Bordeaux 23-18 to move to the top of the standings. Forwards Steven Kitshoff, Jandré Marais and Berend Botha did service for Bordeaux, who did enough to secure a losing bonus point.
– Fullback Gio Aplon, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and lock Hendrik Roodt all started and scored for Brive in their 42-17 demolition of Oyonnax. The bonus-point victory takes Genoble up to 10th in the standings. Oyonnax used flank Pedrie Wannenburg as an impact player from the 54th minute, while prop Rossouw de Klerk was given a two-minute cameo by the winners.
– Rory Kockott’s 21-point haul was not enough for Castres, who suffered a 25-21 defeat at the hands of La Rochelle. The scrumhalf scored two tries, added a conversion and kicked three penalties to win his personal battle with La Rochelle’s No 9 Ricky Januarie.
– Clermont, with prop Dan Kotzé in the starting XV, erased a 9-0 half-time deficit to beat Agen 33-16. Flyhalf Burton Francis scored all Agen’s points via three first-half penalties and a converted try in the 70th minute. He was joined in the run-on XV by centre Johann Sadie. Fullback Scott Spedding and hooker Marthinus van der Westhuizen turned out for second-placed Clermont from the 52nd and 75th minutes respectively.
– Braam Steyn and his Treviso teammates slumped to a second successive Italian derby defeat against Zebre, who won 18-8. Ulrich Beyers, Kayle van Zyl, Johan Meyer, Dries van Schalkwyk and Jean Cook donned the colours of the winners with Van Schalkwyk claiming the Man of the Match award.
– On the back of last weekend’s win over the same opposition, Edinburgh won 14-11 at Murrayfield to complete the double over the Glasgow Warriors. WP Nel, Anton Bresler, Cornell du Preez and Andries Strauss did battle for the winners, while Josh Strauss turned out for the Warriors.
– Fullback Louis Ludik’s solitary try was not enough for Ulster, losing 9-7 against Munster who ended a three-match losing streak. Wing Gerhard van den Heever, No 8 CJ Stander and prop BJ Botha featured prominently for the winners, while Ulster again called on Ruan Pienaar, Robbie Diack, Franco van der Merwe, Wiehahn Herbst, Rob Herring and Ludik to complete their team. The result takes Munster one position above their victims in fifth spot.
– In form Leinster downed Connacht 13-0 at RDS Arena to cement their spot in second position on the log. Zane Kirchner and Richardt Strauss featured for Leinster, who have now won their sixth game in a row, while Irish rivals Connacht suffered a third straight defeat.
– The Cardiff Blues sealed a dramatic 29-27 win over the table-topping Scarlets at Arms Park. Trailing 27-22 in the closing stages, the hosts went over for a late score to level matters, before knocking over the conversion. Wing DTH van der Merwe started for the Scarlets and scored one of their three tries.
– The Ospreys ousted the Newport Gwent Dragons 12-7 at the Liberty Stadium to record their fifth consecutive win in the competition. Wing Hanno Dirksen dotted down for the winners. Fullback Carl Meyer, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, lock Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris were in the Dragons’ team, who have now lost twice in a row.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Xavier Leoty/AFP Photo