Overseas watch: Heineken Cup

 Oct 21,2013
Written by: Ross Hastie

South African scrum-halves Ruan Pienaar and Rory Kockott were amongst the stand-out performers over the weekend in Round 2 of the Heineken Cup.

Pienaar was named Man of the Match for his display as he guided Ulster to a 25-8 victory over Montpellier. The Northern Irish side became the first team to win at Stade Yves-du-Manoir this season as Pienaar contributed five penalties to take the Ulstermen two points clear of Leicester at the top of Pool 5.

Kockott scored all of Castres' points - including a try - as the French champions gave three-time European champions Leinster a tough battle in Dublin, only to see the result slip from their hands in the last quarter as the Irish hosts won 19-7.

Springboks Jano Vermaak, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Gurthro Steenkamp all played a big role in Toulouse's crucial 17-16 win over English side Saracens at Wembley on Friday.

Schalk Brits and Alistair Hargreaves were immense for the home side in the first hour as Sarries looked to stay unbeaten this season. But the impact of the Toulouse bench, including the Springbok trio and winning try-scorer Louis Picamoles, turned the tide in the French team's favour in a tense second half of an epic tussle.

The shock of the weekend came in Wales where the Cardiff Blues upset the odds to snatch a 19-15 victory over reigning European champions Toulon courtesy of a 77th-minute try from replacement Gareth Davies.

Former Springbok lock Bakkies Botha appeared to be struggling with a back injury and Juan Smith made a cameo appearance in the second half of a below-par performance from Toulon.

Juandre Kruger and Francois van der Merwe teamed up in the second row for Racing Métro as the Parisian claimed a crucial 26-all draw away to Scarlets to leave them level with the Welsh side at the top of Pool 4.

Pool 4's other big game was in Clermont where the home side extended their unbeaten streak at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin to 65 games as they triumphed 23-16 over Harlequins with Gerhard Vosloo making an impact off the Clermont bench.

Former Sharks wing Wandile Mjekevu scored two tries for Perpignan as the Catalans beat Edinburgh 31-14 on the Mediterranean coast to take the lead in Pool 6. Former Kings flanker Cornell Du Preez scored a late try for the Scottish side, but is wasn't enough to repeat last week's heroic win over Munster. 

Bookmakers like Paddy Power would have given you good odds on Munter at home and ex-Springbok prop BJ Botha featured in the Munster front row as they got their first win of the European season with a 26-10 success over Gloucester on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Josh Strauss helped Glasgow to a 20-16 win over Exeter Chiefs on Sunday while Northampton claimed a 27-16 victory over the Ospreys.


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