SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the past weekend’s French Top 14 matches involving South African players.
– Bordeaux continued their good start to the season with a 34-32 win over Castres, who had scrumhalf Rory Kockott and hooker Jody Jenneker in their starting lineup. Kockott’s haul of 22 points from two conversions and six penalties was enough for Castres to claim a losing bonus point. Bordeaux are second on the table with three wins from their opening three games, while Castres are 10th with just one win so far.
– Johann Sadie‘s second-half try allowed Agen to salvage a losing bonus point as they suffered their second defeat of the season with a 18-12 loss to Pau. Sadie ran an excellent line in a set move from a scrum to break through the defence and score just before the hour mark. Pau’s win moved them into fifth place, while Agen currently sit 12th on the table.
– Montpellier climbed up to third with a South African-inspired 30-16 win over last-placed La Rochelle. South African-born French lock Paul Willemse scored a second-half brace, while fullback Henry Immelman came off the bench to add a try in the last 10 minutes and seal the win. Lizo Gqoboka, on a short-term loan from the Vodacom Bulls, made his Montpellier debut off the bench, with flank Jacques du Plessis and lock Nico Janse van Rensburg also featured for Montpellier. La Rochelle had flank Wiaan Liebenberg in their starting lineup.
– Heyneke Meyer’s Stade Francais claimed their first win of the season with a 33-27 win over Bayonne. Lionel Mapoe continued his good form at outside centre for Stade, who brought on-loan prop Carlu Sadie off the bench in the second half. Hansie Graaff was at fullback for Bayonne and grabbed a try for the visitors.
– Newly-promoted Brive also got their first victory of the season and lifted themselves off the bottom of the table by stunning last season’s finalists Clermont with a 28-21 derby win. Peet Marais was at lock for Brive, who climbed one spot to 13th on the log while Clermont dropped to fourth.
– Lyon stayed at the top of the table with a 20-6 win against Toulon. Etienne Oosthuizen started at lock for Lyon, who have won all three of their opening fixtures so far. Toulon, meanwhile, dropped points for the second time this season and fell to 11th on the log.
– Toulose climbed the table with a narrow 20-17 win over Racing 92. The defending champions have struggled thus far, losing their two opening fixtures, but rose to eighth place by beating the Parisians. Rynhardt Elstadt was at flank for Toulouse, while Werner Kok came off the bench at outside centre in the last 15 minutes of the match.