Ulster give Pienaar perfect send-off

SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s English Premiership, Celtic Pro12 and French Top 14 matches, involving South African players.


– Wasps, featuring Willie le Roux and Ashley Johnson, clinched a 35-15 bonus-point win against Saracens to finish the season at the top of the standings. Hooker Schalk Brits, props Vincent Koch and Petrus du Plessis, flank Michael Rhodes and No 8 Schalk Burger played for Saracens, who ended in third position on the log.

– Former Bulls trio, scrumhalf Francois Hougaard, centre Wynand Olivier and flank Dewald Potgieter, formed part of the Worcester Warriors side that suffered a 28-23 defeat against the Leicester Tigers. The win was enough to earn the Tigers a semi-final berth, alongside Wasps, Sarries and Exeter.

– Captain Francois Louw and his Bath teammates slumped to a 27-24 loss against the Sale Sharks. This defeat, coupled with Leicester's win, ended Bath's chances of qualifying for the playoffs.

– Ex-Western Province duo David Ribbans and Nic Groom started for the Northampton Saints in their 22-20 victory over Harlequins at Franklin's Gardens. Tim Swiel came on as Quins' replacement flyhalf in the second half.

– Bristol's last match in the top-tier competition ended in defeat as they lost 39-27 against the Newcastle Falcons at Ashton Gate. Nick Fenton-Wells was on the Bristol bench, while hooker Kyle Cooper was on duty for Newcastle.

TOP 14

– A try apiece by wing Duhan van der Merwe and No 8 Pierre Spies, and a 12-point haul from the boot of flyhalf Willie du Plessis lifted Montpellier to a 27-26 win over Stade Français. The trio played alongside centre Henry Immelman, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg and brothers Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis. Stade featured Craig Burden, Heinke van der Merwe, Willem Alberts, Morné Steyn and Meyer Bosman in their lineup, with Steyn kicking a conversion and three penalties and Burden scoring a try. Lock Jacques du Plessis was a late and controversial addition to Montpellier's substitutes list.

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 Bernard le Roux, Francois van der Merwe, Antonie Claassen and Gerbrandt Grobler represented Racing 92 during their 22-20 win over Bordeax in Paris. Lock Jandré Marais played for Bordeaux. The win earned Racing a place in the knockout stage of the competition.

– Clermont, with fullback Scott Spedding in their ranks, beat a second-string La Rochelle side 30-26 at home. Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie came off La Rochelle's bench to score a late try. The result had no impact on the teams' final position on the log, as La Rochelle had already sealed top spot last weekend, with Clermont ending second.

– Captain Duane Vermeulen's Toulon claimed a 32-12 win against Pau. Flank Juan Smith and lock Juandré Kruger ran out alongside Vermeulen for the winning team, while Marcel van der Merwe was on the bench. Toulon had also qualified for the playoffs last weekend.

– Gurthrö Steenkamp, Maks van Dyk and their Toulouse compatriots ended a disappointing campaign on a high, thanks to a commanding 40-12 win against Bayonne. Toulouse finished 12th in the standings and Bayonne 14th.

– Lyon, with Jacques-Louis Potgieter at flyhalf, suffered a humiliating 53-21 defeat against the relegated Grenoble on the final day of the regular season. Lock Hendrik Roodt was in Grenoble's starting team.

– Brive ousted Castres 33-27. Eighthman Paul Hauman and lock Johan Snyman played for Brive, who came eighth in the standings. Centre Robert Ebersohn turned out for Castres, who will also compete in the playoffs.


– Centre Jaco Taute and flank Jean Deysel starred for Munster, who lashed Connacht 50-14 to clinch top position on the log. Lock Quinn Roux, wing Danie Poolman and flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff did service for Connacht.

– Ulster upset Leinster 17-13 at the Kingspan Stadium. Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, in his last outing for Ulster, was replaced in the 69th minute and left the field to a massive standing ovation. He played with hooker Rob Herring and flank Robbie Diack. Hooker Richardt Strauss started for Leinster, who were denied top spot after this loss.

WATCH: Pienaar's emotional Ulster farewell

– Prop Werner Kruger, lock David Bulbring and wing DTH van der Merwe were used as substitutes by the Scarlets in their 40-17 bonus-point triumph over the Ospreys. Both teams progressed to the semi-finals.

– Cornell du Preez and Allan Dell were in the Edinburgh side that defeated the Glasgow Warriors 29-17 at Scotstoun Stadium. Neither team made the playoffs.

– Fullback Carl Meyer, wing Pat Howard, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and lock Ligtoring Landman featured for the Newport Gwent Dragons, who slumped to an agonising 26-24 defeat against the Cardiff Blues. Meyer played particularly well for the hosts, scoring a try and two conversions for an 11-point personal tally.

– The dead rubber between Italian sides Treviso and Zebre ended in a 19-3 win for the former. Wing Kayle van Zyl, lock Gideon Koegelenberg, No 8 Dries van Schalkwyk and flank Johan Meyer featured prominently for Zebre. Flank Braam Steyn started for Treviso.

Compiled by Mariette Adams

Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Getty Images

Post by

Mariette Adams