SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Pro14 and French Top 14 matches involving South African players.
– Juan de Jongh scored a crucial second-half try for Wasps as they came from behind to beat the Newcastle Falcons 23-22. Wasps’ loose-forward duo of Nizaam Carr (who was shifted to No 8) and Ashley Johnson once again starred for the side, as Carr made a total of 16 tackles and one turnover while Johnson made 33m with ball in hand.
– The Northampton Saints extended their decade-long winning streak over the Bristol Bears with a thrilling 45-40 win in Bristol. Cobus Reinach started for Northampton, while prop Francois van Wyk came off the bench in the second half. Both Nick Fenton-Wells and Zane Kirchner were on Bristol’s bench, but Kirchner did not make it on to the field.
– The Exeter Chiefs stayed in touch with log-leaders Saracens by beating the Worcester Warriors 28-11 in a bonus-point victory. Francois Hougaard, captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze and lock Anton Bresler all started for the Warriors, who sit in 10th position with just a single win after five matches.
– Johan Ackermann’s Gloucester lost their second game in a row as they let an 18-15 half-time lead slip to lose 27-25 to Harlequins. Gerbrandt Grobler was busy on defence for Gloucester, making 14 tackles, while hooker Franco Marais came off the bench for the home side.
– Saracens continued their excellent start to the season with a 50-27 thrashing of Bath. Sarries’ captain Brad Barritt was forced off early in the match with a nasty facial injury. Flank Schalk Burger came off the bench halfway through the second half. Returning Springbok Francois Louw started for Bath, making 15 tackles and one turnover.
– The Leicester Tigers piled more misery on to the Sale Sharks with a 19-15 victory over the now last-placed side. Sharks captain Jono Ross enjoyed another physical performance in a losing effort, making 14 tackles and enforcing two turnovers alongside No 8 Josh Strauss. Sale’s new centre signing Rohan Janse van Rensburg made his return from an ankle injury off the bench.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Castres showed their typical resolve to come back from a 19-point deficit and beat Toulouse 26-22 away from home. Toulouse flank Rynhard Elstadt was yellow-carded in the final 10 minutes of the match, giving Castres the boost they needed to come away with a win. Fullback Scott Spedding, centre Robert Ebersohn, prop Daniel Kotze and hooker Jody Jenneker all started for Castres, who brought Rory Kockott off the bench.
– A late penalty allowed Pau to snatch a 28-25 victory against Agen. Johann Sadie started at centre for Agen, who dropped to 12th on the overall table.
– Bordeaux made it successive victories in the Top 14 after an excellent 34-22 win against La Rochelle. Lock Jandré Marais started for Bordeaux, while centre Paul Jordaan came off the bench for La Rochelle.
– Lyon kept the pressure on the top teams in the table following a comfortable 34-6 win over Grenoble. Locks Hendrik Roodt and Etienne Oosthuizen were both in action for Lyon. Raymond Rhule was on the wing for Grenoble, who are now second from bottom after six games.
– Jan Serfontein scored one of Montpellier’s three tries, which allowed them to claim a narrow 23-20 victory against a determined Perpignan. Ruan Pienaar kicked a conversion and penalty for Vern Cotter’s side, which included Johan Goosen (who added a penalty), locks Paul Willemse and Nico Janse van Rensburg as well as hooker Bismarck du Plessis. Tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis came off the bench for Montpellier. Wandile Mjekevu was at outside centre for Perpignan, who had lock Berend Botha and tighthead prop Gert Muller in their starting XV.
– Clermont’s excellent start to the season continued as they comfortably beat Toulon to leave the 2014 champions languishing down in 11th position. Lock Flip van der Merwe was on the bench for Clermont, who continue to lead the standings on 24 points. Toulon had a host of South Africans, including Juandre Kruger, Jaques Potgieter, JP Pietersen and Marcel van der Merwe as their substitutes. Van der Merwe was yellow-carded in the second half after a buildup of Toulon penalties.
– Racing 92 claimed the Paris bragging rights by halting Heyneke Meyer‘s Stade Français with a 17-16 triumph. Morné Steyn, who has formed a fine halfback partnership with Piet van Zyl, kicked three penalties and a conversion for Stade. No 8 Willem Alberts and loosehead prop Heinke van der Merwe both started for Stade.
– The Cardiff Blues secured back-to-back wins with a scrappy 24-21 victory over the Cheetahs. Lock George Earle started for the Blues, who sit in fourth position on the Conference A table.
– Duhan van der Merwe scored for Edinburgh as they held out for a 31-30 victory against Treviso. Van der Merwe scored one of three tries for the hosts to help them to a 24-8 lead, before they had to hang on in the second half. Props Allan Dell and WP Nel were both in Edinburgh’s starting front row. Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage started for Treviso, who are now level on points in fourth position with Edinburgh.
– The Ospreys stayed in touch with Conference A leaders Glasgow by beating Zebre 22-8 in Italy. Prop Tom Botha came off the bench for the Ospreys, while former Bulls flyhalf Francois Brummer could not impact the game off the bench for Zebre.
– Defending champions Leinster claimed a valuable 20-3 away win against Connacht. Lock Quinn Roux started for Connacht.
– The Scarlets turned on the heat in the second half to pummel the Kings 54-14 at home. Fullback Clayton Blommetjies had a solid outing on his return to the starting lineup, making a total of 80m from the back, while prop Werner Kruger was powerful with ball in hand. Flank Uzair Cassiem made his return from injury off the bench in the second half for the Scarlets.
– The Glasgow Warriors returned to the top of Conference A with a 29-13 bonus-point win against the Dragons. Prop Oli Kebble bashed over after five minutes for the Warriors’ first try. Brandon Thomson came off the bench in the closing stages to see out the game for Glasgow. Jarryd Sage made his first start of the season at centre for the Dragons, who had Rynard Landman at lock and prop Brok Harris on the bench.
– Munster made a massive statement of intent by putting nine tries past Ulster in a 64-7 lashing. CJ Stander played the full 80 minutes for Munster, making 19 tackles and 57m from six carries. Both lock Jean Kleyn and flank Arno Botha played off the bench for Johan van Graan’s team, who sit just five points off the Warriors in Conference A.
Compiled by Mariette Adams & Dylan Jack
Photo: Raymond Roig/AFP/Getty Images