Kiwis in Europe: Bristol's Kiwis on tight-rope
Total Kiwis: 90
It is a case of two steps forward and one back for Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears in the UK Premiership.
Bristol, coming off two straight wins, including a much-needed victory at Franklin’s Gardens against Chris Boyd’s Saints, were edged 27-25 at its Ashton Gate home by relegation-threatened Worcester in round 17.
The Bears fielded Siale Piutau, Chris Vui, Steven Luatua, Jake Heenan and John Afoa.
Bristol now lies ninth but is just four competition points shy of the all-important sixth place, which guarantees entry into the European Champions Cup.
This weekend, the Bears travel to La Rochelle, an equally Kiwi-laden team, to contest the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Northampton, also scrapping to reach that Premiership top six, is in fifth position after a priceless 29-15 win at Leicester, just six days after clinching the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Ahsee Tuala, Piers Francis, Teimana Harrison and Ben Franks all featured for the Saints, while Brendon O’Connor and Mike FitzGerald turned out for the Tigers.
Six goals to Tane Takalua were vital as the Newcastle Falcons beat Sale 22-17. John Hardie and Sinoti Sinoti both started for the Falcons, while prop Logovi’i Mulipola was yellow-carded. Denny Solomona scored a try for the Sharks, while Bryn Evans was a replacement.
Exeter defeated Bath, who used Anthony Perenise and Kahn Fotuali’i as subs, 29-10.
Sean Maitland’s Saracens beat Alofa Alofa’s Harlequins 27-20.
A Willi Heinz try helped Gloucester to a 27-14 victory over Wasps. Jason Woodward, Tom Marshall and Josh Hohneck all started for the west country club, while Brad Shields and Nathan Hughes were in the Wasps’ loose forwards.
Fresh from his exploits with Wales, Gareth Anscombe was straight back into the goals with his Cardiff Blues club in the Guinness PRO14. Playing fullback, Anscombe kicked seven goals as the Blues dispatched the Scarlets 41-17. Alongside him were Nick Williams, Rey Lee-Lo and Willis Halaholo. Johnny McNicholl and Kieron Fonotia were in the Scarlets outsides.
Tom McCartney’s Connacht defeated Treviso 29-14. The Italian club fielded Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Monty Ioane, Hame Faiva and Toa Halafihi.
Simon Hickey kicked a conversion as Edinburgh upset Michael Bent’s Leinster 28-11. Simon Berghan also came off the pine for the Scottish team.
Props Jordan Lay and Ma’afu Fia tasted victory as Ospreys edged the Dragons 29-20.
Rhys Marshall scored a try and Tyler Bleyendaal kicked two conversions as Munster put 31-12 on Jimmy Tuivaiti’s Zebre.
In the French Top 14, Sam Vaka, Paula Ngauamo and Tom Murday could not prevent Agen going down 28-13 at home to Clermont, whose bench included Fritz Lee and Tim Nanai-Williams.
A red card to Nemani Nadolo did not stop Montpellier winning 24-15 at Pau, for whom Colin Slade kicked two goals. Jamie Mackintosh wore the No 17 jersey.
Toby Arnold scored a try and copped a yellow card as Lyon beat struggling Toulon 42-33. Rudi Wulf and Charlie Ngatai paired up in midfield. Liam Messam also received a yellow card for Toulon, while Julian Savea was back in the starting line-up, but in the No 12 jersey. Malakai Fekitoa and Brian Alainu’uese were used as subs.
Ben Volavola kicked a conversion as Racing-Metro decisively defeated Seta Tamanivalu’s Bordeaux-Begles 45-27. Ben Tameifuna and Dominic Bird also featured in the Parisians’ forward pack.
Relegation-bound Perpignan edged Grenoble 22-16. Les Catalans’ line-up included Tima Faingaanuku, Genesis Mamea, Michael Faleafa, Shahn Eru and Manu Leiataua, while Grenoble featured Lolagi Visinia, Matt Vaai, Taiasina Tuifua and Alaska Taufa.
Toulouse maintained top billing with a 23-19 win at La Rochelle. Jerome Kaino, Pita Ahki and Charlie Faumuina started for the victors, while five goals from Ihaia West was not enough for the home side. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Uini Atonio and Victor Vito also turned out for Les Rochelais.
Watch – Where did it all go wrong for Ireland:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now