• Steyn tastes defeat in Test debut

    SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and Six Nations matches involving South African players.

    ENGLISH PREMIERSHIP

    – Hooker Ashley Johnson and his Wasps teammates thumped log leaders Saracens 64-24 at Allianz Park. Centre Brad Barritt, flank Michael Rhodes, lock Alistair Hargreaves, prop Petrus du Plessis and hooker Schalk Brits turned out for Sarries, who conceded eight tries while only scoring two. The result moved Wasps up to fourth in the standings.

    – Bath returned to winning ways by beating the Worcester Warriors 16-14 at Sixways Stadium. Outside centre Wynand Olivier, No 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze and tighthead prop Nic Schonert started for the Warriors, while former Bulls loose forward Dewald Potgieter made his debut for them off the bench.

    – Lock Victor Matfield and the Northampton Saints hammered London Irish 35-7 at Franklin's Gardens. However, the bonus-point victory had no impact on the Saints' log position, as they remain sixth.

    – Gloucester scored three unanswered tries to stun Harlequins 28-6 at Kingsholm Stadium. Former Sharks utility back Tim Swiel failed to make Quins' starting lineup again, but was used as a substitute.

    – Prop Brian Mujati's Sale Sharks upset flank Don Armand's Exeter Chiefs 23-17 at AJ Bell Stadium. The Chiefs were ranked fourth before the match, but dropped to fifth after the defeat. Sale are still in seventh spot, but the win sees them maintain their undefeated streak at home.

    – In another result where the higher-ranked side lost, the Newcastle Falcons upset the Leicester Tigers 26-14 at Kingston Park. The Falcons benched lock Mouritz Botha, while the Tigers did the same with lock Sebastian de Chaves.

    CELTIC PRO12

    – Ulster, featuring scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, flank Robbie Diack and lock Franco van der Merwe, ground out a nervy 13-10 win against the Glasgow Warriors at home, with Pienaar slotting a penalty. The Warriors, languishing in eighth place, had No 8 Josh Strauss on their bench.

    – Connacht claimed a 26-21 away victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons. The result takes Connacht level on points with Ulster, who are at the summit on points difference. Wing Danie Poolman represented the winning side, while scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, lock Ligtoring Landman and prop Brok Harris featured for the Dragons.

    – Leinster clinched an emphatic 52-0 victory over Zebre at the RDS Arena. Fullback Zane Kirchner was on duty for the winners, while his direct opponent Ulrich Beyers, wing Kayle van Zyl, No 8 Jean Cook, flank Johan Meyer and lock Gideon Koegelenberg did service for the struggling Italian club.

    – A last-gasp penalty saw the Scarlets snatch an entertaining 22-21 win over Edinburgh. Wing DTH van der Merwe and locks George Earle and David Bulbring were granted starting spots for the winners. The fifth-placed Edinburgh had lock Anton Bresler and eighthman Cornell du Preez in their run-on XV. The narrow win did not prevent the Scarlets from dropping to fourth on the log.

    – Treviso ended a 20-match losing run in the league, dating back to 20 February 2015, with a hard-fought 13-7 win over the Cardiff Blues. Lock Duncan Naudé was part of the Treviso side that defended valiantly towards the closing stages to secure the result.

    – Munster's struggles continued as they suffered a 21-17 defeat against the Ospreys, who came from behind to win. Outside centre JJ Engelbrecht and lock Rynier Bernardo were named in the winners' starting XV. Munster remain sixth on the log, one spot above their conquerors and three points adrift.

    FRENCH TOP 14

    – Bordeaux handed Toulon a 15-12 defeat at home. The team, featuring locks Berend Botha and Jandré Marais and prop Steven Kitshoff, outscored their more accomplished visitors five penalties to four in a kicking contest. Boks Duane Vermeulen, Juan Smith and Bryan Habana earned starting berths for Toulon, but Vermeulen was yellow-carded as early as the third minute. The outcome moved Bordeaux up to fifth, while leaving third-placed Toulon two points behind joint leaders Racing and Toulouse.

    SIX NATIONS

    – CJ Stander was on the side of the scrum for Ireland in their surprising 10-9 loss to France in Paris, while hooker Richardt Strauss completed Ireland's match-day squad. The defending champions are now fourth on the log after two rounds, while France are second.

    – Scotland, with prop WP Nel in their starting XV, slumped to a 27-23 defeat against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Wales are third in the standings and Scotland fifth.

    – Braam Steyn, a 23-year-old flank born in Cradock in the Eastern Cape, made his Test debut for Italy in their 40-9 loss to England at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday. The victory sees England maintain their position at the summit of the log, while the Azzurri are rooted to the bottom.

    Compiled by Mariette Adams

    Photo: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Post by

    Mariette Adams