SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s Six Nations, Premiership Rugby Cup, Top 14 and Major Rugby League matches involving South African players.
– France held out against a ferocious Italy attack to claim a 25-14 win in Rome. Paul Willemse was back in the French starting lineup for the first time since the opening round, and while he struggled at the lineout, he was still active on defence, making eight tackles before being substituted on the hour mark. Italy flank Braam Steyn was again one of their best players as he made seven carries and six passes in open play.
– Wales claimed the Six Nations title and the Grand Slam with an excellent 25-7 victory against Ireland in Cardiff. Despite a subdued performance from the Irish, No 8 CJ Stander still managed to make 14 carries and beat two defenders. Lock Quinn Roux played 22 minutes off the bench for the visitors.
– Scotland ended their Six Nations campaign on a high with a thrilling come-from-behind 38-38 draw against England. Loosehead prop Allan Dell and tighthead WP Nel resumed their roles in the Scottish scrum, but both were active in open play as well, making a total of 23 tackles between them. Josh Strauss was a second-half replacement for Scotland.
FRENCH TOP 14
– Bismarck du Plessis scored a second-half try to help Montpellier beat Toulon 21-18 in a comeback victory. Toulon had taken a 15-7 lead into half-time, but Du Plessis muscled over from close range 10 minutes into the second half to bring the visitors back into the match. Former Bulls loosehead prop Marcel van der Merwe scored one of Toulon’s two first-half tries. Montpellier again had a large South African contingent in their starting lineup, including lock Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, flank Jacques du Plessis, flyhalf Frans Steyn, centre Jan Serfontein and fullback Henry Immelman. Toulon brought JP Pietersen off the bench for the final quarter of the match.
– Robert Ebersohn had an eventful match as he captained Castres to a 36-17 win against Top 14 strugglers Perpignan. The centre was in the right place to score one of the home side’s five tries, but was shown a yellow card in the second half. Scrumhalf Rory Kockott, tighthead prop Daniel Kotze and hooker Jody Jenneker were all in action for Castres, who are now third on the log. Loosehead prop Gert Muller played for Perpignan.
– Racing 92 climbed into the top six with a 34-16 away win against Grenoble. JC Janse van Rensburg was at loosehead prop for Grenoble, who are second from bottom with just 20 points from 19 games.
– Agen produced one of the surprise results of the round as the 12th-placed team stunned playoff hopefuls La Rochelle with a 19-7 victory. Ricky Januarie was on the bench for Agen, while Wiaan Liebenberg started for La Rochelle, who dropped out of the top six playoff places.
– Morné Steyn‘s penalty haul was not enough to stop Stade Français from slumping to a 26-12 defeat to Bordeaux. Steyn, who started at fullback for Heyneke Meyer’s team, kicked four penalties for Stade’s only points of the match. Flank Hendré Stassen, No 8 Willem Alberts and scrumhalf Piet van Zyl all also did duty for Stade, who are five points off the top six in eighth position.
– A 14-man Clermont kept their title hopes alive by shrugging off a red card to beat Pau 27-14. Lock Flip van der Merwe was shown red in the 23rd minute for a head-high shoulder charge. Tighthead prop Jaco van Tonder came off the bench for Clermont.
– Cheslin Kolbe starred for Toulouse as the league leaders claimed an emphatic 53-21 bonus-point win over Lyon. Kolbe played a major part in two of Toulouse’s seven tries, which helped them extend their lead at the top of the table. Lock Francois van der Merwe and No 8 Deon Fourie played for Lyon, who had props Albertus Buckle and Hendrik Roodt on the bench. Maks van Dyk was a replacement for Toulouse.
MAJOR RUGBY LEAGUE
– The Seattle Seawolves outlasted the Austin Elite to clinch a 29-17 victory at home. Seawolves captain Riekert Hattingh led from the front as he scored two of his team’s four tries. He was joined in the side by hooker Stephan Coetzee and scrumhalf JP Smith. Hooker Tiaan Erasmus, prop Brendan Rams, lock Dylan Pieterse, flank Rikus Swart and No 8 Kyle Breytenbach all turned out for the Elite, with Erasmus scoring their first try. The Seawolves are second on the log and Austin last.
– Centre Tristan Blewitt scored a hat-trick to inspire the Nola Gold to a 49-11 win over the Houston SaberCats. He played alongside prop Hubert Buydens and fullback JP Eloff, who was also on song for the winners with a try and seven conversions for a 19-point contribution. Nola are still top of the table, but their lead has been cut to one point.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) March 17, 2019
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) March 17, 2019
– Centre JP du Plessis scored a try in the 80th minute and fyhalf Joe Pietersen kicked the conversion to give the San Diego Legion a 28-28 draw with the Glendale Raptors. Pietersen slotted three other conversions. Hooker Dean Muir also represented the San Diego Legion, while flank Hanco Germishuys, scrumhalf Shaun Davies and centre Robbie Petzer and Chad London all turned out for the Raptors, who are fourth in the standings. Davies captained the side and scored a try in the 53rd minute.
PREMIERSHIP CUP FINAL
– The Northampton Saints, with loosehead prop Francois van Wyk and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach in their ranks, beat Saracens 23-9 to be crowned 2018-19 Premiership Rugby Cup champions.
Time to lift some silverware ?
— Northampton Saints ? (@SaintsRugby) March 17, 2019
Compiled by Dylan Jack & Mariette Adams