Van der Merwe lifts Ulster looks back at the past weekend's English Premiership and Celtic Pro12 matches, which involved South African players.


– The Northampton Saints defeated a star-studded Saracens side 31-24 at Allianz Park on Saturday to return to the top of the Premiership table. Sarries, with lock Alistair Hargreaves, No 8 Ernst Joubert and scrumhalf Neil de Kock in their team, conceded three first-half tries and were unable to recover in the second half.

– Flank Ben Pienaar was named in London Welsh’s match-day squad that lost 26-6 to the Leicester Tigers in Oxford. The result earned Leicester fifth place on the Premiership log.

– Former WP flank Don Armand starred in the Exeter Chiefs' 31-15 victory over London Wasps. Ex-Cheetahs loose forward Ashley Johnson started for Wasps on the side of the scrum, but was unable to repeat his heroics of the previous week when he scored a hat-trick.

– The Sale Sharks recorded a nervy 16-12 win against hosts Harlequins at the Stoop on Friday. The victory was Sale’s first at the venue in six years. Sharks flyhalf Tim Swiel came off Quins' bench but failed to make any notable contribution.


– The Newport Gwent Dragons suffered a heavy 38-12 defeat against Munster. Former Cheetahs lock Ligtoring Landman and ex-Stormers prop Brok Harris started for the Dragons, while prop BJ Botha, flank CJ Stander and Pat Howard all came on as substitutes for Munster.

– Locks Johan Snyman and George Earle started in tandem for the Llanelli Scarlets who ground out a 19-9 win over the Glasgow Warriors. Loose forward Josh Strauss turned out for the Warriors, with tighthead Rossouw de Klerk and Tyrone Holmes on the bench. Prop Jacobie Adriaanse was also on the Scarlets’ bench.

– Utility back Louis Ludik, prop Wiehahn Herbst and lock Franco van der Merwe represented Ulster who eased to a comfortable 25-16 win over the Neath-Swansea Ospreys. Van der Merwe scored one of three Ulster tries, while lock Rynier Bernardo and fullback Hanno Dirksen played for the Ospreys.

– Five unanswered tries sealed an emphatic 43-3 win for Connacht against lowly Zebre. Former WP wing Danie Poolman, who started alongside compatriot Quinn Roux, scored the opening five-pointer of the match. Ex-Cheetahs fullback Hennie Daniller, eighthman Andries van Schalkwyk and lock Andries Ferreira made Zebre’s run-on XV, while flank Braam Steyn was listed as a replacement.

– Leinster missed a last-ditch drop goal and had to settle for a share of the spoils after they drew 24-24 with Treviso. Lock Corniel van Zyl skippered the Italian team with flank Meyer Swanepoel among the reserves. Internationals Zane Kirchner and Richardt Strauss appeared for Leinster.

– Former EP Kings captain Andries Strauss was one of several star performers in the Edinburgh side that stunned the Cardiff Blues 28-13 at Murrayfield. Strauss grabbed the first touchdown and prop WP Nel did well in the scrums for the winners.


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Mariette Adams