Kiwis in Europe: Bears-Saints Premiership derby almost a Kiwi Super Rugby match
We had the two New Zealand head coaches in the competition – Chris Boyd of the Saints and Pat Lam of the Bears – going head to head in a Six Nations hiatus with no less than 13 players who have a New Zealand rugby connection.
Bristol prevailed 20-14, making a stirring comeback to hold fourth position in a Premiership table that is tight as a drum with Saracens now out of the playoffs picture. The Bears can partly thank a 61st minute try by replacement Henry Purdy, who is a not a Kiwi but did scores three tries in 10 outings for Otago in last season’s Mitre 10 Cup.
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Fullback Charlie Piutau was again the most dangerous back on the park, running for 87m from 16 carries, while Chris Vui pulled down a game-high six lineouts. Other Bears to feature were Alapati Leiua, John Afoa, Steven Luatua, Nathan Hughes and Jake Heenan.
Exeter won 26-15 at Gloucester, which fielded Josh Hohneck and Tom Marshall.
London Irish’s Kiwi contingent of Waisake Naholo, Terence Hepetema and NZ-educated former Wallaby prop Sekope Kepu enjoyed a 29-15 away win over Harlequins.
Leicester’s Telusa Veainu scored a try to help his team defeat Wasps 18-9. Jordan Taufua was in the No 7 jersey for the Tigers. For the vanquished, second five Jimmy Gopperth slotted three penalty goals, playing outside Jacob Umaga. Brad Shields was used off the bench.
Bath’s Jackson Willison enjoyed a narrow 22-21 win over Worcester’ Matt Moulds.
In the French Top 14, the struggles continued for defending champion Toulouse, edged 30-27 by Racing-Metro in Paris.
Ben Volavola, Ben Tameifuna, and Dominic Bird all played for the Parisians, while Pita Ahki scored a try for the visitors and Joe Tekori was sin binned.
Stade Francais edged a La Rochelle side (21-20) that included Ihaia West, this time at fullback, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Victor Vito and Uini Atonio.
Former Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo crossed for a hat-trick in Montpellier’s narrow 31-29 win over Alofa Alofa’s Bayonne.
Tim Nanai-Williams, Fritz Lee and Loni Uhila all played in Clermont’s 23-20 victory at Pau, which fielded Ben Smith and Ziggy Fisi’ihoi.
Toulon’s Kiwi quartet of Bryce Heem, Brian Alainu’uese, Liam Messam and Julian Savea all tasted a 34-17 victory over So’otala Fa’aso’o’s Brive.
Ben Botica kicked three goals and Seta Tamanivalu scored a try as high-fliers Bordeaux-Begles beat Lyon 37-19. Toby Arnold, Rudi Wulf, and Charlie Ngatai, who kicked two penalty goals, all featured in the Lyonnais backline.
In the Guinness PRO14, Aki Seiuli’s Glasgow crushed Zebre 56-24. Junior Laloifi, who was binned, Josh Renton and Jimmy Tuivaiti all turned out for the Italians.
A try to Matt Faddes was not quite enough as Ulster went down 26-24 to Ospreys. Sean Reidy was on the side of the scrum for the Ulstermen.
Simon Hickey’s Edinburgh won 14-19 at Scarlets, for whom Sam Lousi and Kieron Fonotia featured.
Dominic Robertson-McCoy’s Connacht blanked Cardiff Blues 29-0. Rey Lee-Lo, Filo Paulo and Nick Williams turned out for the Blues.
Full rounds of all three competitions will be played this weekend, despite the third round of the Six Nations.
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