Saffas abroad

Keo.co.za looks at the South African players who shone in European club action this past weekend.

In the Premiership, Saracens’ Derick Hougaard, who has had to be content with appearances off the wood since his move from Leicester, scored two drops to go with three penalties, as well as the conversion of Kameli Ratuvou’s try as they ran out 22-9 winners over Harlequins. The victory took the Saffa-laden Saracens joint-top of the Premiership table.

Springbok tighthead prop Faan Rautenbach scrummed powerfully in London Irish’s emphatic 56-7 victory over Leeds. Scott Mathie, the former Shark, was on the losing side, making an appearance off the bench. Wasps beat Worcester 23-3 in Sunday’s other fixture.

In the French Top 14, Brent Russell and Willie Wepener both scored for Clermont in their 40-8 demolition of Albi. The versatile Russell is being utilised as a wing and has impressed in recent weeks. The match also featured the return from injury of Springbok centre Marius Joubert, who last played just before last season’s Top 14 play-offs.

Joe van Niekerk’s Toulon downed title hopefuls Toulouse via the boot of Jonny Wilkinson, who kicked three penalties and three drop goals to see Toulon finishing 18-13 winners.

However, in other results, Racing Metro will be hoping their new arrival Frans Steyn will help turn their fortunes around after they suffered their fourth successive defeat, losing 9-6 to Castres. Steyn arrived in Paris this week and is likely to start against Montpellier on Saturday.