Kiwis in Europe: Maitland and Waldrom set for showdown
Form would suggest there may only be two Kiwis involved in next month’s Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham.
This follows confirmation that defending champs Exeter Chiefs and Saracens will host home semifinals in three weeks’ time. The penultimate round of the Premiership saw Exeter defeat Sale 34-19, with warhorse No 8 Thomas Waldrom featuring as a replacement. He still has a chance to round out his long UK career with more silverware before heading home to Wellington for another crack with the Lions.
The Sharks fielded Bryn Evans, Halani Aulika and Johnny Leota.
Saracens smashed relegation-bound London Irish 51-14, with wing Sean Maitland running for 71m on nine carries, as well as making four tackles.
Blair Cowan copped a yellow card for the Exiles, while Ben Franks and Asaeli Tikoirotuma also turned out for Irish.
Wasps confirmed their playoffs berth, beating Northampton 36-29. Jimmy Gopperth was again to the fore, slotting six goals, even as he closes in on his 35th birthday.
Ahsee Tuala and Teimana Harrison both scored for the Saints, while Piers Francis started at second five.
Worcester ensured it will play Premiership rugby in 2018-19 by hammering Harlequins 44-13, the three Kiwis – Bryce Heem, Ben Te’o and Jackson Willison – all crossing for tries. Mat Luamanu and Alofa Alofa started for Quins.
Newcastle won a famous, late, 25-23 victory at Welford Road. Sinoti Sinoti and Tane Takalua, who kicked a conversion, played for the Falcons. Mike FitzGerald scored a try for Leicester, while Telusa Veainu, Brendon O’Connor and Logovi’i Mulipola all turned out for the Tigers.
Tries to Cooper Vuna and James Wilson helped Bath to a convincing 43-20 win at Gloucester. Kahn Fotuali’i and Anthony Perenise also started for Todd Blackadder’s men. Jason Woodward scored a try for the home team, while Tom Marshall, Josh Hohneck, John Afoa and Motu Matu’u all played.
In the Guinness PRO14, prop Jordan Lay scored a try in Edinburgh’s 24-19 victory over Glasgow. Simon Berghan was on the other side of the Edinburgh scrum. Callum Gibbins scored a try for the vanquished, while Siua Halanukonuka was a replacement.
Munster’s Rhys Marshall and Sean Reidy’s Ulster had a 24-all stalemate.
Despite an 18-point haul from No 10 Gareth Anscombe, which included a try and five goals, Cardiff Blues fell 23-26 to Ospreys. Veteran Taufa’ao Filise propped the Blues scrum, while Kieron Fonotia and Ma’afu Fia turned out for Ospreys.
Hadleigh Parkes’ Scarlets sealed a home semifinal berth with a 33-8 defeat of Dragons.
Bundee Aki scored a try for Connacht in the big 47-10 win over Leinster. Tom McCartney came off the bench for the victors. Leinster’s Kiwi contingent was James Lowe, Michael Bent and Jamison Gibson-Park.
In the penultimate round of the French Top 14 regular season, George Tilsley and Tom Murday both enjoyed Agen’s 27-17 win over Clermont, though Tilsley was binned, as was Clermont No 8 Fritz Lee. Isaia Toeava and Loni Uhila also featured for Les Jaunards.
Aaron Cruden and Nemani Nadolo were among the tries as Montpellier crushed Pau 45-13. Jarrad Hoeata started at lock for the home side, while Pau fielded Conrad Smith, Tom Taylor (three goals), Jamie Mackintosh and Daniel Ramsay.
A yellow card to Tony Ensor did not prevent Stade Francais, who have named Heyneke Meyer as its new coach, beating Brive 30-22.
Quentin MacDonald scored a try and Ben Botica kicked five goals as Oyonnax defeated Lyon 39-18. Hika Elliot started at No 8, while former Tonga and Blues rep Viliami Ma’afu came off the pine. Toa Halafihi scored a try for Lyon, while Mike Harris kicked two goals. Toby Arnold and Rudi Wulf also started.
Racing-Metro won a fine 39-15 victory at Bordeaux-Begles. Dan Carter slotted six goals, while Ben Tameifuna, So’otala Fa’aso’o and Anthony Tuitavake also played for the Parisians. Ed Fidow and Luke Braid fronted for the home side.
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