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Rugby | European Rugby

Francois Hougaard © Gallo Images

Hougaard shines for Worcester

The rugby continues over the festive period as players formerly based in South Africa take part in Premiership, Pro14 and Top 14 matches.

On Friday night there was a vital win for Worcester as Francois Hougaard helped them beat relegation rivals London Irish 23-8 at Sixways. The win lifts them 10 points clear of the Exiles and the following day the Warriors announced that Alan Solomons would be their new boss.

The Premiership round continued on Saturday with Sale comfortably beating Bath 32-9, as former Lions duo Faf de Klerk and Rohan Janse van Rensburg both put in excellent performances. Former Sharks full-back Willie le Roux was in lethal form for Wasps against Johan Ackermann's Gloucester in a 49-24 victory while his ex-teammate, Kyle Cooper, was on the winning side for Newcastle as they overcame Harlequins 11-10.

In Saturday's other game another former Shark, Cobus Reinach, scored for Northampton in their 35-14 defeat against Exeter before the final match came on Sunday as Schalk Burger and Vincent Koch came off the bench for Saracens, who ended their losing run with a win at Leicester.

The Top 14 also had a full round of matches which kicked off on Friday with former Stormers forward Rynhard Elstadt going down to a 23-19 loss in Toulouse colours at Racing 92. He was joined in the Toulouse XV by another ex-Stormers player, Cheslin Kolbe, who was on the wing.

Saturday saw six fixtures take place as Johann Sadie and Ricky Januarie impressed for Agen in their 27-13 win over relegation rivals Brive. There was also a win for Montpellier players Francois Steyn, Jacques Du Plessis, Paul Willemse, Johannes Jonker and Bismarck du Plessis as they beat Etienne Oosthuizen's Lyon 38-17, while Jandré Marais was in the Bordeaux-Bègles starting line-up that stunned La Rochelle 29-19.

Elsewhere in France, former Sharks wing JP Pietersen and ex-Cheetahs and Bulls prop Marcel van der Merwe scored in Toulon's 49-25 win over Oyonnax, Jody Jenneker's Castres side beat Willem Alberts' Stade Français 28-6 while Flip van der Merwe's Clermont went down 21-20 at Pau.


- Wiehahn Herbst started while Schalk van der Merwe was on the bench for Ulster as they were thumped 44-16 at Connacht in their Pro14 game.

- Edinburgh somehow beat Glasgow despite having a man sent off after five minutes. Both Duhan van der Merwe and Jaco van der Walt started.


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