Shaun Goosen looks back at all of the rugby action that took place across South Africa and Europe this past weekend.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Pumas klap Bulls’ second-stringers, Cheetahs avoid Griquas scare
The Pumas produced a fantastic display of running rugby to beat a Bulls “B team” 44-14 at the Mbombela Stadium. The visitors, who had beaten the Lions 22-15 in a midweek catch-up match just a few days before, had opted to rest their big guns and instead blood some of their youngsters in what turned out to be a rather difficult afternoon for them – albeit a great learning curve! Jimmy Stonehouse’s men ended up scoring six tries, two courtesy of No 10 Devon Williams, whose first will surely go down as the try of the season.
In the other game of the weekend, the Cheetahs held off the Griquas 22-18 in Kimberley thanks to a personal 17-point tally from Frans Steyn. The visitors had to withstand a late onslaught to hang on for the win and end their campaign on a high note. For the Griquas, the defeat means they bring down the curtain on a domestic season that did not yield a single victory.
Leinster back to winning ways as Ulster taste first defeat
A near full-strength Leinster line-up powered their way to a 24-12 win over Ulster at the RDS Arena on Friday. Leo Cullen needed a big response from his men after their shock loss to Connacht in round 10 – and boy did he get it, thanks in large part to his enormous band of returning Irish internationals. The hosts now trail Ulster by just five-points on Conference A with two games in hand.
In other Pro14 results, a strong Munster side beat Connacht 16-10 at the Sportsground in Galway, Ospreys beat the Dragons 28-20 at Rodney Parade and the Cardiff Blues beat Scarlets 29-20 at Cardiff City Stadium.
Wasps pip Bath in 11-try thriller while Bristol topple Exeter
Wasps beat Bath 52-44 at the Rec in a spectacular match that saw 11-tries scored, as they recorded a fifth win in a row. Lee Blackett’s charges are now fifth, trailing first-place Bristol by just five points, and picking up a mighty head of steam as they head into their Champions Cup tie with Montpellier this weekend. For Bath, despite contributing four tries, have yet to pick up a second win of the campaign and find themselves in 10th.
Elsewhere, Bristol earned a 20-7 win over Exeter at Sandy Park to make a massive statement of intent, Sale beat Worcester 20-13, Newcastle won 22-10 against Gloucester and Harlequins and Gloucester drew 27-all.
Toulouse and Bordeaux pick up big Top 14 wins
In a weekend that saw the postponement of two games, Toulouse climbed to first place on the Top 14 standings with a 48-24 win at home over Stade Francais on Sunday. La Rochelle’s away clash with Racing 92 had to be moved, though they still sit just three points adrift of top spot with a game in hand. Bordeaux thrashed Lyon 31-9 at home as they continued to pick up points after their loss to Toulouse a fortnight ago.
In other results, Clermont won away 42-31 at Pau, Brive pipped coachless visiting Montpellier 23-22 and Castres secured a 39-23 result at home over Agen.