SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, involving South African players.
– JP Pietersen made an immediate impact at his new club, the Leicester Tigers, in their 38-31 bonus-point win over hosts Gloucester at Kingsholm. The Bok winger scored the Tigers' second try soon after the break.
– Saracens surged to an emphatic 35-3 bonus-point triumph over the Worcester Warriors at Twickenham. Prop Petrus du Plessis, flank Schalk Burger and centre Brad Barritt all started for the winners, with Burger forcing his way over the line to score on debut. Schalk Brits came on as replacement hooker for Sarries. Outside centre Wynand Olivier, No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze and prop Nic Schonert did duty for the Warriors.
– Scrumhalf Nic Groom came off the bench to score a brace on debut for the Northampton Saints, but it wasn't enough as they went down 18-14 to Bath at Franklin's Gardens. The Saints were outplayed and trailed by 18 with seven minutes to go before Groom came on and dotted down twice to make sure they came away with a losing bonus point. Wing Jeff Williams played for Bath from the hour mark.
– Wasps defeated the Exeter Chiefs 25-20 at the Ricoh Arena. Hooker Ashley Johnson was used as an impact player off the bench, while flank Don Armand captained the Chiefs in the opening round of the season.
– Zane Kirchner started on the right wing for Leinster, who beat Treviso 20-8 in Dublin. The former Bok and Bulls fullback played from start to finish.
– Right wing Lloyd Greeff and No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk were in the Zebre run-on XV that slumped to a crushing 59-5 defeat at the hands of the Ospreys in Swansea.
– Former Bok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar was named Man of the Match in Ulster's 29-8 triumph against the Newport Gwent Dragons. Pienaar, who featured alongside locks Franco van der Merwe and Robbie Diack and hooker Rob Herring, scored a try and nailed two conversions. Herring led the team and also scored one of their tries. The Dragons had fullback Carl Meyer, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and lock Ligtoring Landman in their ranks.
– Ex-Stormers lock Jean Kleyn made a winning start to his career at Munster, who beat the Scarlets 23-13. The hosts boasted wing DTH van der Merwe, lock David Bulbring and debutant prop Werner Kruger.
– The Cardiff Blues got their campaign off to a blazing start as they romped to a 34-16 win over Edinburgh. Lock George Earle was on duty for the Blues, while prop WP Nel did service for Edinburgh.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Lock Bernard le Roux scored one of Racing's three tries in their 28-14 win over Toulouse in Paris. Le Roux turned out alongside No 8 Antonie Claassen for the defending champions, while prop Gurthrö Steenkamp was on the Toulouse bench and only given a 15-minute cameo.
– Montpellier ended a two-game losing streak with a 32-15 win over hosts Bordeaux. Flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis was back in the starting lineup and kicked 17 points via five penalties and conversion. Outside centre Frans Steyn was also heavily involved, as he was yellow-carded in the first half before slotting a touchline conversion and a long-range penalty for the winners. The duo were in the starting lineup alongside front rowers Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis, lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and eighthman Pierre Spies. Jandré Marais played No 5 for Bordeaux.
– Brive pulled off the upset of the weekend when they downed hosts Toulon 25-21 for their first win in 10 years at the Stade Felix-Mayol. Prop Kevin Buys, lock Wilhelm Steenkamp and flank Paul Hauman turned out for Brive. Flank Juan Smith, lock Juandré Kruger and prop Marcel van der Merwe did battle for Toulon, who looked a shadow of their former self.
– La Rochelle, featuring debutant Paul Jordaan and scrumhalf Ricky Januarie, ousted hosts Castres 26-18. Jordaan impressed in his first start of the season, scoring La Rochelle's opening try. Robert Ebersohn was at inside centre for Castres.
– Newcomers Lyon inflicted a 32-13 defeat on struggling Grenoble. Prop Albertus Buckle started for the winners, with compatriot Jacques-Louis Potgieter coming off the bench in the 60th minute to kick a late penalty and conversion. Fullback Gio Aplon continued his rich try-scoring form with another touchdown in a losing cause, while scrumhalf Charl McLeod and hooker Rossouw de Klerk joined him on the field in the second half.
– Flank Willem Alberts, hooker Craig Burden, prop Heinke van der Merwe and centre Meyer Bosman were in the Stade Français side that scored a last-gasp converted try to snatch a 30-30 draw with Clermont in Paris. The visitors had lock Flip van der Merwe and fullback Scott Spedding in their ranks, with the latter landing two vital penalties.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Stephen White/Getty Images