Saffas abroad

Keo.co.za looks at the South Africans who performed in European club action this weekend.

Brendan Venter, in his first season in charge, led Saracens to their first Premiership final in seven attempts as they beat Northampton. Schalk Brits scored the winning try and although his lineout throwing faltered at times, his general play was exemplary. Petrus du Plessis, Mouritz Botha, captain Ernst Joubert, Neil de Kock and Brad Barritt all started, while Justin Melck and Derick Hougaard came off the bench.

For Norhampton, Bulls-bound Juandre Kruger delivered another industrious all-round performance and must come into contention for the Boks’ Test against Wales in Cardiff on 5 June. Brian Mujati also started and scored a try.

In the other semi, Bath’s Butch James, Michael Claassens and Luke Watson couldn’t have their desired impact as the Bath pack were massacred after half-time. James and Claassens were both brilliant and aggressive in defence and with a better platform they could’ve had more of a say on attack. Watson was also one of Bath’s better players.

In the Top 14 play-offs, Joe van Niekerk‘s Toulon’s fairytale campaign came to an end with a dramatic 35-29 loss to Clermont in extra time. Van Niekerk carried on his inspirational form, while Ross Skeate came off the bench. Interestingly for the victors, Marius Joubert started at inside centre.

In the other play-off, Perpignan ensured they reach another final when they beat Toulouse 21-13. Daan Human and Shaun Sowerby were again in Toulouse’s run-on team, but they couldn’t stop the defending champions from winning a string of penalties that handed them the win. Gavin Hume started at No 10 for Perpignan.

In his final game for Munster, Jean de Villiers went off injured as his side were knocked out of the Magners League by Leinster. For the victors, CJ van der Linde came on after 46 minutes.