Tries by New Zealanders are flowing in Europe.
No less than 15 by Kiwis were scored over the weekend’s final pool round of European Champions and Challenge Cups action. Nine came in the Champions Cup alone.
Hooker Rhys Marshall was amongst the five-pointers for Munster in its 48-3 hiding of Castres, who started David Smith and Alex Tulou.
Brendon O’Connor’s try was not quite enough for Leicester, who went down 20-23 at home to Racing-Metro in a match notable for the long-awaited return from injury of Dan Carter, via the bench. Joe Rokocoko and Ben Tameifuna were among his teammates. For the Tigers, Logovi’i Mulipola, Mike FitzGerald and Valentino Mapapalangi also came off the bench.
Former Steelers and Patumahoe flanker Sean Reidy scored Ulster’s sole try in the 26-7 defeat to Wasps. Rodney Ah You and Charlie Piutau also took the field for the Ulstermen.
The Kiwi quintet of Rene Ranger, Victor Vito, Jason Eaton, Uini Atonio and Tawera Kerr-Barlow tasted 16-7 victory over the Harlequins of Alofa Alofa and Mat Luamanu.
Hadleigh Parkes’ early try was key in Scarlets’ 30-27 win over Toulon, for whom Ma’a Nonu and Alby Mathewson featured.
A late try to Monty Ioane was not nearly enough for Treviso, who fell 28-47 at home to Bath. Dean Budd, Whetu Douglas and Hame Faiva lined up alongside Ioane. Kahn Fotuali’i, Paul Grant and James Wilson turned out for Bath, as did No 8 Zach Mercer, who scored a try. The latter, the 2017 England Under 20s skipper and son of former Kiwis league rep Gary Mercer, is in Eddie Jones’ England squad and could even make his debut within a fortnight.
Sean Maitland scored a try in Saracens’ 62-14 shellacking of Northampton. Nafi Tuitavake scored for the Saints. His teammates included Ken Pisi, Dylan Hartley and Michael Paterson.
A late Luke McAlister try sealed Clermont’s quarter-final berth with a 24-7 victory over Ospreys. Fritz Lee and Isaia Toeava also started for Les Jaunards. Ma’afu Fia and Kieron Fonotia were replacements for the Welsh region.
Siua Halanukonuka’s Glasgow edged Exeter 28-21, though neither side have qualified for the quarters.
Isa Nacewa showed his versatility, wearing the No 12 jersey as he helped Leinster to a 23-14 win at Montpellier. Jamison Gibson-Park (9) and James Lowe (11) also turned out against Aaron Cruden, who kicked two goals.
In the Challenge Cup, Bundee Aki was one of Connacht’s tryscorers in the 50-14 crushing of Oyonnax. Dominic Robertson-McCoy and Naulia Dawai also featured.
For the vanquished, Roimata Hansell-Pune copped a yellow, while Quentin MacDonald was the starting hooker.
Fa’asiu Fuatai scored a try and Ben Volavola kicked two goals for Bordeaux-Begles in the 33-17 loss to Dragons. Dominiko Waqaniburotu scored a try for Brive, who dispatched Jackson Willison’s Worcester 33-7. William Lloyd’s London Irish won 24-17 at Krasny Yar. Former Wallaby, the New Zealand-born Richard Kingi, was at fullback for Enisei in the Russian club’s 19-33 defeat to Newcastle.
Frank Halai and Daniel Ramsay each scored tries in Pau’s 34-24 defeat of Gloucester. Colin Slade kicked six goals for Pau, who are coached by Simon Mannix and Carl Hayman. Conrad Smith and Peter Saili also took the field. Jeremy Thrush scored a try for the Cherry and Whites, alongside Jason Woodward, Motu Matu’u, Josh Hohneck and John Afoa.
Paul Williams and Tony Ensor enjoyed a 17-10 victory over Edinburgh, while the Cardiff Blues, featuring Gareth Anscombe and Rey Lee-Lo, beat Lyon 21-18. Taiasina Tuifua and Josh Bekhuis turned out for France’s gastronomic capital.
Toulouse, with Jarrod Poi, Paul Perez, Carl Axtens and Joe Tekori in the mix, beat Halani Aulika’s Sale 28-21.
The European quarter-finals will play out on the weekend of March 29-April 1.
This weekend sees round three of Anglo-Welsh Cup play and the resumption of the French Top 14.
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