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Kiwis in Europe: Strong start for Stade's Kiwis

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TOP 14    

Kiwis in Europe: Strong start for Stade's Kiwis

Tony Ensor and Ziggy Fisiihoi might be onto a good thing this season with Stade Francais.

The former Otago wing and Chiefs prop respectively tasted victory to the tune of 46-15 for the Parisian club at promoted Perpignan as the French Top 14 kicked into gear.

Stade has performed inconsistently in recent seasons but, under the aegis of former Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer, the Parisians showed promising early signs.

Perpignan fielded two Kiwis off the pine in the form of former Bay of Plenty and New Zealand Under 20s lock Shahn Eru and former Manu Samoa and North Harbour hooker Manu Leiataua.

In a replay of the Top 14 final less than three months ago, Alex Tulou’s Castres edged Aaron Cruden’s Montpellier 25-20.

Bordeaux-Begles, which has usually fielded a stack of Kiwis in recent times, used just former Manawatu and All Blacks Sevens wing George Tilsley in its 41-19 hiding of Pau. The latter had Daniel Ramsay at lock, with Colin Slade and Tom Taylor sharing the kicking duties with two goals each. Jamie Mackintosh, who will be feeling for his old Southland Stags side, was used as a replacement.

Former All Black Isaia Toeava is still just 32 and clearly going strong after a brace for Clermont in the 67-23 shellacking of Agen. Fritz Lee and Loni Uhila were alongside him for Les Jaunards. Former Northland lock Tom Murday was at lock for Agen, while former Steelers centre Sam Vaka was in the midfield.

The news was not so good for Malakai Fekitoa, the only New Zealander in the Toulon 23. The midfielder copped a yellow card and his club lost 9-25 at Stade Mayol to Racing-Metro.

The Parisians fielded Joe Rokocoko, 35 years young, on the wing, Ben Tameifuna, Ole Avei and veteran Census Johnston in the front-row, while Ben Volavola, who has done time at Canterbury and North Harbour, came off the pine.

If you read a certain New Zealand rugby publication, you would think that Charlie Ngatai is suiting up for Taranaki again in the Mitre 10 Cup. Not so. He has just played his first game for Lyon, in the No 12 jersey, in the 16-all home draw with Toulouse. Rudi Wulf and Toby Arnold were in the Lyonnais jerseys 13 and 14.

Jerome Kaino played 73 minutes at No 8 for his new club Toulouse, while Charlie Faumuina and Joe Tekori also appeared.

Victor Vito’s La Rochelle made a winning start via a 28-21 victory over Grenoble. The Kiwis in the Grenoble were front and centre of action  controversy. Fullback Lolagi Visinia scored a try, as did 2017 Waikato lock Leva Fifita, while No 7 Steven Setephano was sent off for ‘rucking’ in the final minute. Alaska Taufa was in the midfield. Off the bench came former Ikale Tahi prop Halani Aulika and former All Blacks Sevens and Hurricanes Development centre Leka Tupuola, now 29, but who has plied in trade in France for several seasons.

The UK Premership and PRO14 competitions kick off this weekend.

In other news:

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Kiwis in Europe: Strong start for Stade's Kiwis