Handre Pollard bests Owen Farrell as South Africans shine abroad

Handre Pollard bests Owen Farrell as South Africans shine abroad

Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard led the way for Leicester Tigers on a good weekend for South African rugby players across the globe.


As Owen Farrell nears a bombshell move to the French Top 14, the England skipper went head-to-head with Handre Pollard for the first time since the 2023 Rugby World Cup semi-final as Leicester faced Saracens at Welford Road, but once again it was the Bok No 10 who came out on top.

Dan Kelly, Matt Rogerson and Harry Simmons all crossed the line as Leicester secured a 19-10 victory, with Pollard marshalling the troops and converting two of their tries. Jasper Wiese also started at No 8 for Leicester, while scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl was on the bench for Saracens.

Elsewhere in England, Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen continued to shine for Harlequins, scoring a try as they secured a 24-3 bonus-point win over Newcastle Falcons to move into second place on the table. Also in the Quins lineup were lock Irne Herbst and fullback Tyrone Green.

Springbok prop Thomas du Toit featured for Johann van Graan's Bath as they came from behind to beat Gloucester 17-10. No 8 Jaco Coetzee and flanker GJ van Velze were also in the Bath lineup. Former Lions flanker Ruan Ackermann scored a try for Gloucester.

Bristol Bears secured a 22-14 victory over a Sale Sharks side that featured five South Africans - lock Cobus Wiese, flanker Ernst van Rhyn, No 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, tighthead prop Nic Schonert and flyhalf Robert du Preez. The Bears also had a South African representative in outside centre Benhard Janse van Rensburg. Both teams face South African sides in this weekend's Champions Cup - Bristol host the Bulls while Sale will make the trip down to Cape Town to face the Stormers.

Northampton Saints scored at the death to secure a nailbiting 42-36 win over Exeter Chiefs. Burger Odendaal played at inside centre for the Saints, while flanker Jacques Vermeulen scored two tries for Exeter.

Top 14

Siya Kolisi started for Racing 92 as they went top of the Top 14 table with a hard-fought 34-30 victory over Castres in Paris. Also in action for Racing was Bok prop Trevor Nyakane, who came on as a substitute.

Dillyn Leyds started on the wing for La Rochelle as they claimed a 29-20 away win at Pau, while a Stade Francais side that included Former Sharks stars JJ van der Mescht and Jeremy Ward had to settle for a 14-14 draw against Clermont.

Montpellier's recent revival continued as they upset Toulon 27-17. Cobus Reinach was at scrumhalf for the surprise winners, while lock Paul Willemse and flank Nico Janse van Rensburg each scored a try as Montpellier looked to exit relegation danger.

It was not a good day for Lyon and their captain, former Bulls flanker Arno Botha, as they went down 45-0 in a heavy defeat to defending champions Toulouse.

Japan League One

In Japan, captain Kwagga Smith scored two tries for Shizuoka Blue Revs as they smashed Honda Heat 62-13. Smith, who has now scored 19 tries in just 26 League One appearances, was also named Man of the Match. Franco Mostert started at lock for the Heat, who have yet to pick up a win this season.

Damian de Allende's Wild Knights pulled off an audacious fightback to overcome a 27-8 half-time deficit and defeat Toyota Verblitz 43-27 for their fourth straight win. The Knights scored 35 unanswered points in the second half against a Verblitz side that included Pieter-Steph du Toit at flank and the All Blacks halfback pair of Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith.

Cheslin Kolbe scored his first try in League One as his Suntory Sungoliath side defeated former Wallaby coach Dave Rennie's Kobelco Steelers 44-36.

Two more World Cup winners, Faf de Klerk and Jesse Kriel, were in action for Canon Eagles as they edged Mitsubishi Dynaboars 40-35 in a high-scoring affair.

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