Kiwis in Europe: Berghan's Edinburgh has wood on Savea's Toulon
Total Kiwis: 67
Simon Berghan and Edinburgh are sitting pretty at the top of Pool 5 in the European Champions Cup.
The final round of the pool stages takes place this weekend, with Edinburgh hosting Montpellier at Murrayfield this Friday. A quarter-final berth is already secure for the Scots.
The Christchurch-born prop, the latest of the Kilted Kiwis with 14 test caps to his name, entered the fray at the 68-minute mark for WP Nel in the 28-17 win over Toulon at Stade Mayol last weekend. Former Auckland skipper Simon Hickey was an unused sub for the victors. It caps an Edinburgh sweep of Toulon in their two pool matches.
Toulon left wing Julian Savea, who returned to action after a short, much-discussed, break to attend his brother Ardie’s wedding in Fiji, scored a late consolation try for Les Rouges et Noirs, whose fans are hurting due to poor results in both the Top 14 and Europe this season.
Munster, with Rhys Marshall, Alby Mathewson and Tyler Bleyendaal all featuring off the bench, defeated Josh Hohneck’s Gloucester 41-15. Newcastle’s Tane Takalua and John Hardie were on the receiving end of a 45-8 hiding at Montpellier.
Jackson Willison’s Bath edged Wasps 18-16, meaning the Coventry club still has not recorded a European win in five outings this season. No 8 Nathan Hughes scored a try for Wasps, while Brad Shields also featured off the side of the scrum. It was an eventful day for No 10 Lima Sopoaga, whose coach Dai Young has felt the need to go into bat for his form.
The former All Black kicked three goals but was also shown yellow for a no-arms tackle on his compatriot Willison.
Former Steelers and Patumahoe club loose forward Sean Reidy was in the No 6 jersey as Ulster beat Ben Tameifuna’s Racing-Metro 26-22. Scarlets looked in fine fettle in dispatching Leicester 33-10. Fullback Johnny McNicholl scored a try, set up by a sweet no-look pass from former Manu Samoa and Crusaders centre Kieron Fonotia. Hadleigh Parkes wore the No 12 jersey. Mike FitzGerald scored a try off the bench for the Tigers, while Brendon O’Connor and Valentino Mapapalangi also featured.
Sean Maitland’s Saracens won 28-10 at Lyon, who fielded Toby Arnold and Rudi Wulf. Callum Gibbins’ Glasgow took out Cardiff Blues 35 24, the latter including Willis Halaholo and Nick Williams.
In the Challenge Cup, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara recorded a double for Treviso in the 38-24 win over Agen. Alongside the former Stags and Rams flyer were Monty Ioane, Dean Budd and Toa Halafihi. Sam Vaka scored a try and was binned for Agen. In the visiting pack were Tom Murday and Paula Ngauamo.
Ben Teo’s Worcester sealed playoffs qualification with an identical 20-18 result at Ospreys. Clermont stays atop Pool 5 with a thrilling 48-40 win over Chris Boyd’s Northampton, which has just signed Matt Proctor for 2019-20. George Moala (13) and Loni Uhila (17) suited up for the home team, while Ahsee Tuala and Ben Franks were alongside No 8 Teimana Harrison, who registered a losing hat-trick.
George Tilsley showed his pace to score a key try for Bordeaux-Begles in the 34-27 victory at Perpignan, while Kiwi-born wing Stephen Shennan was powerless to prevent his Romanian side Timisoara Saracens from copping a 59-3 hiding to the Dragons.
Bristol, with Jake Heenan in the No 7 jersey, crushed Enisei 65-9 before just 100 people in Sochi.
There were contrasting fortunes for the Kiwis at Stade Francais. Fullback Tony Ensor scored a try, while prop Ziggy Fisi’ihoi copped a yellow card in the 35-14 win over Colin Slade’s Pau.
Rugby World Cup City Guides – Fukuoka:
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