Du Preez lifts Japanese league cup

GARETH DUNCAN looks at the Saffas who impressed in the leagues around the world over the weekend.

Former Springbok and Bulls scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has been a revelation for Suntory Sungoliath since joining them after the 2011 World Cup. Under the veteran No 9′s watch, they claimed their third trophy in two seasons.

Du Preez spearheaded the club’s attack in their 19-3 Top League final win over the Brave Lupus. The 30-year-old played a hand in both tries scored in the first stanza, which saw Suntory lead 12-3 at the break. He was then substituted in the 72nd minute, before his team dotted down for a third time at the death.

Suntory have now clinched back-to-back league titles. They will have an opportunity to win another piece of silverware when they enter the All-Japan Championship knockout tournament at the semi-final stage.

In the Anglo-Welsh Cup, Saffa-laden Saracens jumped to the top of Pool 3 after their 19-11 comeback win over the Cardiff Blues. Sarries trailed 8-6 at the break before delivering an impressive second-half display.

Lock Mouritz Botha and flank Nick Fenton-Wells started for the victors, with hooker John Smit, prop Petrus du Plessis, lock Alistair Hargreaves and flank Justin Melck making an impact off the bench.

Bath remained in the running to advance to the play-off phase after 16-6 win over the Exeter Chiefs. Flank Nick Koster played a key role for director of rugby Gary Gold’s team.

South African-born lock Rob Andrew did a good job in the Leicester Tigers’ 34-8 thrashing of London Wasps.

In the French Top 14, loosehead prop Gurthro Steenkamp and replacement hooker Gary Botha helped their team to a 19-14 win over tighthead prop Eugene van Staden’s Biarritz to elevate to second place in the standings.