Bryce Heem seems to have found a home at Sixways.
— WarriorsRugbyNews (@wrfcnews) November 18, 2017
But, now into his third season with struggling Aviva Premiership club Worcester, his hat-trick on the weekend helped the Warriors to a 30-15 win over Northampton Saints, the first of the 2017-18 season. It allowed Worcester to climb off the rung of the Premiership ladder, leapfrogging London Irish in the process.
Heem is not small for a wing, and showed his power close to the line with 32m gained from seven runs, two clean breaks and eight tackles.
Former Chiefs and Blues midfielder Jackson Willison played inside Heem at centre.
Appearing for the Saints were Ken Pisi, Michael Paterson and Teimana Harrison.
Jimmy Gopperth showed glimpses of his stellar 2016-17 form with five goals from first five in Wasps’ 40-10 victory over the Newcastle Falcons, who fielded Nili Latu and Sinoti Sinoti.
Wing Sean Maitland, unwanted by Scotland, was on the receiving end of Saracens’ 23-17 defeat at Gloucester, whose Kiwi contingent was Willi Heinz, Josh Hohneck, John Afoa and Jeremy Thrush.
Bath, coached by Todd Blackadder, stayed in the semifinal picture with a 22-18 result at London Irish. Bath’s Kiwi playing influence included former Otago No 8 Paul Grant, former Otago wing Jack Wilson, halfback Kahn Fotuali’i and prop Anthony Perenise.
Ben Franks, James Marshall and the under-rated former Hawke’s Bay loose forward Mike Coman turned out for London Irish.
The French Top 14 saw Toulon fall 29-40 to Racing-Metro at Stade Mayol, despite a try to Malakai Fekitoa. Ma’a Nonu was paired in the centres with Fekitoa, while former All Blacks No 9 Alby Mathewson must be smiling at going, in the space of a month, from Taupo’s Owen Delany Park to the packed, high rise stands of Mayol. The Parisians fielded Joe Rokocoko, at centre, Ben Tameifuna and So’otala Fa’aso’o.
Two tries to former Otago fullback Tony Ensor guided Stade Francais to a 39-35 victory over promoted Oyonnax, who played five players of New Zealand origin. They were former North Harbour No 10 Ben Botica, son of Frano, who kicked four goals, prop Hoani Tui, No 8 Rory Grice, hooker Quentin MacDonald and No 8 Viliami Ma’afu, who added a try.
Aaron Cruden’s Montpellier beat Toulouse 32-22, with the latter fielding Charlie Faumuina, Joe Tekori, who was shown yellow, Carl Axtens and Jarrod Poi off the bench.
Former Auckland and All Blacks Sevens flyer David Smith, still just 31, crossed for a double to see his Castres club home 31-15 over La Rochelle, who included former Wesley College prop Uini Atonio, Jason Eaton, Hikairo Forbes and Victor Vito.
Tom Taylor continues to prove his worth for Pau, slotting six goals in the 34-15 win over Brive. Former Maori All Blacks lock Daniel Ramsay scored a brace and copped a yellow card, while former All Blacks wing Frank Halai dotted down. Conrad Smith, Colin Slade and Jamie Mackintosh were also involved for the south-western club.
Isaia Toeava, Fritz Lee and Loni Uhila turned out for Clermont in the 39-18 win over Lyon, whose Kiwis included Rudi Wulf, who scored a try, Mike Harris, Toby Arnold and former Taranaki No 8 Toa Halafihi.
Bordeaux-Begles, with former Samoa Sevens flyer Ed Fidow and former NZ Under 20 rep Fa’asiu Fuatai on the wings, edged Agen, for whom former Manawatu wing George Tilsley scored.
There was no play in the Guinness PRO14, which resumes this weekend.
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