Smit starts with a loss

Keo.co.za looks at the South Africans that featured in the European Cup this past weekend.

John Smit won his first start for Saracens on Saturday, but it was Biarritz that would go on to win the contest 15-10. Neither the former Springbok captain nor fellow South Africans like Ernst Joubert, Brad Barritt or Matt Stevens could prevent the result from going the way of the hosts.

Bath may have lost narrowly to lowly Glasgow two weeks previously, but pulled it back with a narrow 16-13 win over Montpellier. World Cup winner Stephen Donald was the hero for Bath, but Francois Louw and Michael Claassens also featured prominently as the English club fought to stay in contention for the European Cup play-offs. Meanwhile in the other fixture of the group, Leinster thumped Glasgow 38-13 with Heinke van der Merwe starting in the front row and Richardt Strauss coming off the bench.

Munster sneaked another narrow win thanks to a timely drop-goal by Ronan O’Gara, but the forwards will take some credit for the 27-24 victory over Castres, and no doubt starting props BJ Botha and Wian du Preez will take a bow. Unfortunately, Pedrie Wannenburg and Johann Muller could not lift Ulster as they went down 20-9 in Leicester, and Brian Mujati’s Saints suffered what could be a telling blow when they lost 28-23 to the Scarlets at home in Northampton.

Over in Italy, Treviso drew 26-26 with the Ospreys, with lock Corniel van Zyl starting for the home side. Flyhalf Willem de Waal was on the bench for Treviso.