GARETH DUNCAN looks at the Saffas who impressed in the leagues around the world over the weekend.
Saracens booked their place in the European Cup quarter-finals with a 40-7 thrashing of tighthead prop WP Nel’s Edinburgh. The English club scored five tries in the one-sided contest.
The Sarries pack set the platform for the win, with Springbok hooker Schalk Brits enjoying a fine performance. The No 2 went 46m with ball in hand, completed two turnovers and made six tackles. Saracens also never lost a lineout from Brits’ feeds.
Tighthead Matt Stevens also dotted down, while inside centre Brad Barritt, No 8 Ernst Joubert, tighthead prop Petrus du Plessis, lock Mouritz Botha, flank Nick Fenton-Wells and scrumhalf Neil de Kock all played a hand in the impressive win.
In other European Cup results, flank Josh Strauss was the Glasgow Warriors’ talisman as they recorded their only win of the competition with a 27-20 comeback victory over the Northampton Saints.
With Glasgow trailing 10-6 at the break, Strauss scored the Scottish club’s first try early in the second half. He then gained 38m with ball in hand and executed three offloads. This helped Glasgow create the attacking momentum needed to grab two more tries for the win.
Ulster beat scrumhalf Rory Kockott’s Castres 9-8 thanks to the boot of Ruan Pienaar. Pienaar, who started the game at flyhalf before switching to scrumhalf in the second half, slotted three penalties, including the match-winner in the 67th minute. Flank Robbie Diack also featured for the victors, while No 8 Pedrie Wannenburg started for Castres.
Tighthead prop BJ Botha and loosehead prop Wian du Preez fronted Munster’s 29-6 win over 14-man Racing Metro. Botha played until the 72nd minute before being substituted, while Du Preez came off the bench during the second stanza to finish the game.
Racing had to play 75 minutes with 14 men after lock Antoine Battut was issued a red card. No 8 Jacques Cronje was a standout performer for the French club, rushing 21m and making eight tackles. Flank Bernard le Roux also started for Racing.
In the European Challenge Cup, former Stormers No 8 Nick Koster continued his good start to his career at Bath as he scored one of nine tries in their 53-8 drubbing of Bucuresti.
Fullback Sam Gerber crossed the chalk in Bayonne’s 54-0 win over Mogliano, while flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter also scored a try and kicked five conversions for the victors.
Lock Anton van Zyl put in a good 80-minute performance in Stade Francais’ 39-17 win over the London Welsh.
In the Japanese Top League, scrumhalf Fourie du Preez and lock Danie Rossouw’s Suntory Sungoliath beat outside centre Jaque Fourie’s Kobe Steelers 38-19 in the league semi-final. Suntory, who were unbeaten during the round robin phase, will now compete for back-to-back Top League titles.
In the wildcard play-offs, Bulls centre Wynand Olivier scored a try in the Black Rams’ 43-21 loss to Kintetsu.