• Saffas Abroad: Wiese, Du Preez continue good form

    SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the South African players who featured for their respective clubs in the eighth round of the English Premiership.

    – The Sale Sharks stayed in the hunt for top spot with what could be a vital 20-13 away victory over the first-placed Bristol Bears. Jean-Luc du Preez was among four South Africans who played for Sale, including scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, lock Cobus Wiese, captain Jono Ross and substitute tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, while Robert du Preez was an unused substitute. Jean-Luc du Preez completed all 10 of his tackle attempts, while he also made 16 metres from eight carries and one clean break. Ross was yellow-carded in the first half for collapsing a maul, but more than made up for it with an incredible defensive effort, completing all 18 of his tackles. The win moved Sale into third place on the Premiership table and they trail Bristol by just three points.

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    – The Northampton Saints claimed their third Premiership win in a row after holding out against a Wasps comeback to win 22-17 after leading 22-0 at the break. Shaun Adendorff started at No 8 for Northampton and played 58 minutes, making 21 carries from six metres and completing all 11 of his tackles. Adendorff also beat two defenders and made one clean break. Also in action for the Saints were lock David Ribbans and loosehead prop Frans van Wyk, who played just under 20 minutes from the bench. Northampton are currently in fifth place and trail fourth-placed Harlequins by just the single point. Meanwhile, Wasps are now in ninth place, but are eight points ahead of 10th-placed Bath.

    – After an assured first-half performance, Harlequins claimed a 28-15 victory over Bath to stay in fourth place on the Premiership table. Andre Esterhuizen was one of three Springboks who started for Harlequins, including captain Stephan Lewies and tighthead prop Wilco Louw. Esterhuizen was once again solid at inside centre, making nine carries for 23m, five passes and beating two defenders. Tyrone Green had a lively 25-minute cameo off the bench for Harlequins, making 16m from two carries and four tackles. Meanwhile, former Cheetahs flyhalf Tian Schoeman made his debut off the bench for Bath, while loosehead prop Juan Schoeman started for the home side.

    – Jasper Wiese scored a brace of tries to help the Leicester Tigers earn a 41-24 win at home over the Worcester Warriors. In an excellent performance, the in-form Wiese, who played at No 8, scored his two tries in the second half, while he was destructive with ball in hand, making a massive 66m from 18 carries. Wiese started in an all-South African back row, which included flanks Hanro Liebenberg and Cyle Brink. Also in action for Leicester were loosehead prop Luan de Bruin and wing Kobus van Wyk. The Worcester Warriors had tighthead prop Nic Schonert, lock Anton Bresler and No 8 Cornell du Preez in their starting lineup, while tighthead prop Richard Palframan scored a try off the bench.

    – London Irish came from behind to beat Gloucester 32-26 for their third win in eight Premiership games this season. The win kept London Irish level on 22 points with the Northampton Saints. Scotland-capped loosehead prop Allan Dell played 24 minutes off the bench for London Irish, who also had Zimbabwe-born tighthead prop Lovejoy Chawatama on the bench. Ruan Ackermann started at No 8 for Gloucester and made 14 carries and 14 tackles, beating three defenders. Gloucester are still bottom of the log, but trail the Worcester Warriors by one point.

    – Defending champions the Exeter Chiefs moved into second place on the table after claiming a hard-fought 15-9 win over the Newcastle Falcons. Scrumhalf Louis Schreuder and No 8 Philip van der Walt started for Newcastle, who had hooker-turned-prop Kyle Cooper on the bench. Van der Walt continued his good form, making 20 tackles and 10 carries, as well as three offloads. Don Armand played 29 minutes off the bench for Exeter, who had tighthead prop Maks van Dyk as an unused substitute.

    PRO14

    – In the only PRO14 match of the weekend, Connacht beat the Dragons 30-20 in a postponed round-five game on Friday evening. Former Stormers loosehead prop Brok Harris started for the Dragons, who are second from bottom in Conference A.

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    Photo: David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

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    Dylan Jack