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RUGBY WRAP: Cheetahs continue winning run; Leinster, La Rochelle set for Champions Cup finale and more

Shaun Goosen looks back at the weekend’s rugby action as the Cheetahs impress again, La Rochelle set up Champions Cup finale against Leinster and more!

La Rochelle Rugby - Champions Cup
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Shaun Goosen looks back at the weekend's rugby action as the Cheetahs impress again, La Rochelle set up Champions Cup finale against Leinster and more!

Champions Cup

Currie Cup: Cheetahs make it nine from nine

The unbeaten Cheetahs continued their spectacular Currie Cup form with a 44-15 thumping of the Sharks at Toyota Stadium on Saturday. The win is Hawies Fourie’s side’s ninth in succession and leaves them trailing the log-leading Blue Bulls by just a single point; albeit having played a game less. Buoyed by the performances of Springbok veterans Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar, it will be tough to bet against the Bloemfontein boys claiming their seventh title.

The Sharks remain third after winning five of their games so far, although the Griquas (fourth) and Pumas (sxith) are just three and four points back respectively, having played one less game. Elsewhere, sixth-placed Western Province beat fifth-placed Pumas 23-17 in Mbombela while the Bulls saw off the winless Golden Lions 43-37 in Pretoria.

Champions Cup: Leinster have too much for fatigued Toulouse, La Rochelle beat Racing

After their dramatic penalty shootout win over Munster in the Champions Cup quarterfinals, it was always going to be a tough ask for defending champions Toulouse to claim a second victory at the Aviva in as many weeks — especially against Leinster. As it happened, Leo Cullen’s men were on a different level in Saturday’s semi-final and ended up thrashing the fatigued French outfit 40-17. Even if Antoine Dupont et al. had been well-enough rested, the speed, accuracy and intensity Leinster played with may have been too much anyway, and they’ll be awfully difficult to stop in the Grand Final.

On Sunday, La Rochelle came out trumps over follow Top 14 outfit Racing 92 at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis to advance to their second successive final. Ronan O’Gara’s men haven’t quite lived up to their dominant performances of a season ago, but they still had enough to beat the star-studded Parisians and now have another chance of claiming the club’s first piece of major silverware.

Challenge Cup: Etzebeth’s Toulon see off Sarries, Lyon edge Wasps

Toulon advanced to their fourth Challenge Cup final after recording a hard-fought 25-16 win over Saracens at the Stade Felix Mayol on Saturday. Eben Etzebeth was integral for the French outfit, who now have the chance to end their campaign with some silverware after a dreadful start to their season. In the other semi-final of the weekend, Lyon squeezed past Wasps 20-18 to qualify for their very first European final.

Rugby Stunners

Eskom at it again

Eskom’s incompetence produced a typical moment of calamity when the lights went out during Western Province’s 23-17 win over the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday. At least SuperSport’s endlessly entertaining isiXhosa commentary team was able to make light of it.

Etzebeth nails Farrell

Rightly or wrongly, Owen Farrell is probably one of the most disliked players in world rugby — especially in South African circles. Being a Saffa himself, Eben Etzebeth would have enjoyed putting in this big hit on the England skipper during his Toulon side’s 25-16 win over Saracens in the Challenge Cup semi-final at the Stade Mayol on Saturday.

Lions implosion leads to bizarre Bulls try

The Blue Bulls’ final try in their 43-37 win over the Golden Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday has to be one of the most bizarre in recent memory. Take a look.

Furlong throws a worldie

It’s pretty much common knowledge that Tadhg Furlong is one of, if not the best tight forwards in the game. Scumming aside, the Lion has the skills of a flyhalf and threw this epic pass during Leinster’s 40-17 thrashing of Toulouse in the first Champions Cup semi-final at the Aviva on Saturday.

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