Kiwis carving up the north. Marty Banks + 95
The strong New Zealand influence at Benetton Treviso has helped the Italian club up to fifth position in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14.
Treviso won 20-16 at Zebre on the weekend for its fifth victory of the championship. Fullback Jayden Hayward, once of Taranaki, Hurricanes and Force fame, scored a try from fullback. Lock Dean Budd, the former Northland and Blues player, now in the Azzurri squad, also crossed the line. Others to feature were former Bay of Plenty wing Monty Ioane, former Waikato, Crusaders and NZU loose forward Whetu Douglas, former Waikato, Blues, NZU and NZ Under 20s hooker Hame Faiva, and the mercurial Marty Banks, who slotted three goals from first five, is also in the mix. He was originally signed for the 2016-17 season but, after a false start, is now a bonafide squad member.
Former All Blacks fullback and former Maple Leafs coach Kieran Crowley is at the helm of Treviso.
Dave Rennie’s Glasgow, with prop Siua Halanukonuka off the bench, blanked Edinburgh 17-0. Phil Burleigh and former Auckland and Bay of Plenty prop Jordan Lay appeared for the Gunners. Ma’afu Fia’s Ospreys beat the Dragons 22-9, while Charlie Piutau and former NZ Under 20s prop Rodney Ah You played for Ulster in the 24-19 win over Munster.
Leinster, featuring James Lowe and Michael Bent, edged Connacht 21-18. Bundee Aki, Tom McCartney and former Otago loose forward Naulia Dawai turned out for the latter.
Hadleigh Parkes’ Scarlets won 14-11 at Cardiff Blues, whose Kiwi contingent was Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Gareth Anscombe, Nick Williams and Taufa’ao Filise.
Two away victories highlighted the latest round of the French Top 14.
David Smith and Alex Tulou scored tries for Castres in the 31-27 win at Clermont. Maama Vaipulu started at No 8 for Castres. Isaia Toeava copped a yellow card for Clermont, while Fritz Lee, marking another former Steelers No 8, actually kicked a penalty goal.
Racing-Metro won 16-12 at Oyonnax. The Parisians fielded Joe Rokocoko, Anthony Tuitavake, Ben Tameifuna, So’otala Fa’aso’o and Census Johnston. For the home side, Ben Botica kicked four penalty goals, and Quentin MacDonald, Rory Grice and Viliami Ma’afu all featured.
Former Waikato and Flying Fijians lock Dominiko Waqaniburotu was in the No 7 jersey for Brive in the 29-10 win over Montpellier.
Toulouse’s Joe Tekori and Charlie Faumuina tasted an 18-13 victory over Toulon, whose 9-12-13 combination was Alby Mathewson, Ma’a Nonu and Malakai Fekitoa.
Lyon’s 35-23 win over Pau saw no less than 12 players with Kiwi connections fronting.
Toby Arnold, Rudi Wulf, Toa Halafihi, Josh Bekhuis, Taiasina Tuifua and Mike Harris played for the victors, while Conrad Smith, Benson Stanley, Colin Slade, Tom Taylor, Daniel Ramsay and Jamie Mackintosh featured for Pau. Slade and Taylor shared four goals.
Ben Volavola’s Bordeaux-Begles succumbed 22-12 to a Stade Francais outfit, which fielded Tony Ensor, Brandon Nansen and Ziggy Fisi’ihoi.
Uini Atonio, Victor Vito and Tawera Kerr-Barlow contributed to La Rochelle’s 47-6 shellacking of Agen.
In the Aviva Premiership, tries to Jack Wilson (a good finish) and Paul Grant were not enough to prevent Todd Blackadder’s Bath falling 31-26 at home to Wasps. James Wilson (12) and Kahn Fotuali’i (9) also featured for the West Country club.
Former Wellington and North Harbour No 8 Mat Luamanu scored a try, from one metre out, in Harlequins’ impressive 50-21 hiding of Northampton in front of nearly 80,000 at Twickenham. Luamanu’s teammates included Alofa Alofa and Jono Kitto. Ahsee Tuala, Piers Francis, Dylan Hartley and Teimana Harrison turned out for Saints.
Gloucester continued its strong recent form, edging Sale 20-16. The Kingsholm Kiwis were Tom Marshall, Jason Woodward, Josh Hohneck, John Afoa and Jeremy Thrush. The Sharks fielded Denny Solomona, Bryn Evans and Halani Aulika.
Saracens’ resurgence continues, wing Sean Maitland scoring a try in the 46-31 victory over the Worcester of Bryce Heem and Jackson Willison.
Thomas Waldrom’s Exeter Chiefs, the defending champs, stay top of the log going into 2018 after a 30-6 shutout of Leicester Tigers, who included Mike FitzGerald, Logovi’i Mulipola and Valentino Mapapalangi.
The sniping runs of halfback Tane Takalua were a feature of Newcastle’s 20-15 win at London Irish. No 8 Nili Latu also started for the Falcons. Mike Coman copped a yellow card for the Exiles, while his teammates included James Marshall, Filo Paulo, Ben Franks, Blair Cowan and Asaeli Tikoirotuma.
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