SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, Celtic Pro12, French Top 14 and Japanese Top League matches, which involved South African players.
– A late drop goal saw London Irish stun Don Armand's Exeter Chiefs 28-26. The Chiefs, though, still rose one place up the table courtesy of a losing bonus point.
– The Newcastle Falcons subjected London Welsh to their 13th straight defeat with a 38-7 victory at Kingston Park. Eighthman Ben Pienaar played for the struggling Welsh in the final three minutes of the match.
– A late cameo from flyhalf Tim Swiel earned Harlequins a 32-12 bonus-point victory over the Leicester Tigers. Swiel scored the vital try in the dying moments of the game and then cooly slotted the touchline conversion. Lock Sebastian de Chaves made a brief appearance for the Tigers.
– Bok flank Francois Louw played an influential role in Bath's 39-26 win over Wasps. He scored one of four Bath tries, while former Bok loose forward Ashley Johnson failed to make an impact for Wasps after coming off the bench in the 73rd minute.
– Gloucester triumphed 24-23 against Saracens in a thrilling contest, courtesy of a last-gasp penalty. Prop Petrus de Plessis started for Sarries, while No 8 Ernst Joubert and scrumhalf Neil de Kock warmed the Londoners' bench.
– The Glasgow Warriors, with former Lions captain Josh Strauss in the run-on XV, eased to a 22-7 win over the Llanelli Scarlets. Replacement wing DTH van der Merwe scored for the victors. Lock Johan Snyman represented the Scarlets, but was replaced by compatriot George Earle in the 72nd minute.
– Edinburgh ended Connacht's unbeaten home record this season with a nervy 16-13 win. Wing Danie Poolman and lock Quinn Roux turned out for Connacht. Prop WP Nel and lock Anton Bresler played for Edinburgh, who benched centre Andries Strauss.
– Leinster fought back from 13-5 down to beat 14-man Cardiff Blues 22-13 at Arms Park. Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss came off the wood in the final minute of the match.
– Man of the Match CJ Stander and centre Pat Howard starred in Munster's crushing 31-7 win away to Zebre. In another powerful display, Stander crossed the tryline for the Irish province, while Howard broke the line before offloading for the visitor's opening score. Lock Quintin Geldenhuys and No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk played for the Italians.
– Ulster nervously held on for a tight 24-20 win against Treviso. Three first-half tries, including one from Bok scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, gave Ulster a 24-0 lead at the break, but Treviso, with lock Corniel van Zyl and flank Meyer Swanepoel in their ranks, mounted an unlikely comeback in the second half, scoring 20 unanswered points. Ulster, who also had the services of Louis Ludik, Wiehahn Herbst, Robbie Diack and Rob Herring, resisted the late onslaught to claim victory.
– Rynier Bernardo's Neath-Swansea Ospreys recorded a 22-11 win over the Newport Gwent Dragons to rise to the summit of the Pro12 log. Prop Brok Harris and lock Ligtoring Landman featured for the Dragons, but the former was sin-binned after numerous scrum resets.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Stade Français trounced Castres 49-13 in an emotional match in Paris following the terrorist attacks. Prop Heinke van der Merwe and centre Meyer Bosman were on duty for Stade, while loose forward Jono Ross failed to make an appearance off the bench. Castres used eighthman Jannie Jornman as an impact player from the 71st minute, but he could do little after three of his teammates received yellow cards prior to his introduction.
– Both Bryan Habana and Juan Smith touched down for Toulon, who dispatched Racing Métro 32-23. Bakkies Botha started alongside the try-scorers, but was forced to leave the field in the 32nd minute with a badly injured finger. Lock Francois van der Merwe and No 8 Antonie Claassen did service for Racing and were joined by prop Brian Mujati in the 54th minute.
– In battle of the locks, Berend Botha and Jandré Marais came out top against compatriots Hendrik Roodt and Paul Willemse as Bordeaux raced past Grenoble 34-16. Scrumhalf Charl McLeod featured alongside Roodt and Willemse for Grenoble, who were outscored three tries to one.
– Peter Grant's 16-point haul wasn't enough to prevent La Rochelle from going down 29-26 to Toulouse. Prop Gurthrö Steenkamp turned out for Toulouse but was substituted in the 54th minute.
– Hooker Jody Jenneker and his Oyonnax teammates stunned Jake White's Montpellier 20-13. Former Bulls centre Wynand Olivier retained his place in the Montpellier run-on team, while Robert Ebersohn and Pat Cilliers remained benched by White. Utility back Riaan Smit completed the victors' match-day squad.
– Fullback Scott Spedding, and props Gert Muller and JC Janse van Rensburg, played for Bayonne in their narrow 23-22 win over Lyon. Hooker Deon Fourie and lock Coenie Basson started for Lyon with ex-Bok scrumhalf Ricky Januarie joining the fray in the 54th minute.
– Table-topping Clermont ran in six tries to humble Brive 44-20. Flyhalf Riaan Swanepoel, lock Paul Hauman and prop Kevin Buys turned out for Brive, with Buys receiving his marching orders in the 22nd minute for illegal scrummaging.
JAPANESE TOP LEAGUE
– Suntory Sungoliath, with flank Schalk Burger in the starting XV, hammered the Toyota Verblitz 40-19. Former Shark Justin Downey replaced Burger in the 56th minute, while Jean Deysel played 80 minutes for Verblitz.
– Flyhalf Riaan Viljoen scored a try for the NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes in their 46-33 victory over the Munakaua Sanix Blues. Jacques Potgieter started for the Blues, but was injured and left the field in the 35th minute. Centre Johann Sadie represented the Hurricanes from the 65th minute.
– Keegan Daniel's Kubota Spears edged the Kintetsu Liners 19-10. The Sharks loose forward played the entire match.
– The Kobe Kobelco Steelers recorded another victory by beating the Canon Eagles 47-8. Former Boks Andries Bekker and Jaque Fourie earned starting berths for the Steelers and continued their impressive form.
– Ryan Kankowski and his Toyota Industries Shuttles teammates suffered a narrow 9-7 defeat at the hands of the NEC Green Rockets.
– The Toshiba Brave Lupus lashed the NTT Communications Shining Arcs 31-14. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies scored a try and kicked two conversions for the Shining Arcs, but it was the accurate boot of Frans Steyn that had the final say as the inside centre nailed three difficult conversions for the winners.
Compiled by Mariette Adams
Photo: Japan Rugby