Rugby: Kiwis in Europe - Laulala steals the show

By Campbell Burnes

Casey Laulala scored a hat-trick for Racing 92. Photo / Getty
Casey Laulala scored a hat-trick for Racing 92. Photo / Getty

Dan Carter and his Racing 92 club continue to hog the headlines, but it was a hat-trick by his centre and old Crusaders and All Blacks teammate Casey Laulala that stole the show among the New Zealanders on display in European rugby competition over the weekend.

Carter, playing at second five, kicked six from six for 13 points for the Parisians, while Laulala caused concerns for the Scarlets' Kiwi midfield of Regan King and Hadleigh Parkes with his running. Other New Zealanders involved in this European Champions Cup match included prop Ben Tameifuna for Racing 92 and fullback Michael Collins for the visitors.

The result means Racing have qualified for the quarter-finals with this weekend's final pool round to play.

Toulon's Ma'a Nonu, who came under fire from outspoken club owner Mourad Boudjellal last week, celebrated a 15-11 victory over Wasps, who fielded a Wesley College back three of Charlie Piutau, Frank Halai and Sailosi Tagicakibau.

No 10 Jimmy Gopperth slotted two penalty goals for Wasps.

Mike FitzGerald, playing at blindside flanker, scored a try as his Leicester Tigers qualified for the quarters with a decisive 47-7 win over Treviso, who fielded Jayden Hayward at fullback, Sam Christie at centre, and Filo Paulo at lock.

Saracens were the other club to qualify, courtesy of a 33-17 victory over Jared Payne and Sean Reidy of Ulster. Isa Nacewa was on the right wing as Leinster beat Bath 25-11.

Oyonnax shrugged off the controversial sacking of Piri Weepu to beat Toulouse 32-14. Former Blues No 8 Viliami Ma'afu and Soane Tonga'uiha (off the bench) featured for the victors, while Paul Perez, Luke McAlister, Neemia Tialata and Joe Tekori turned out for the struggling European heavyweights.

Francis Saili was again at centre as Munster toppled Stade Francais 26-13. Paul Williams appeared at No 12 for Stade, with Zak Taulafo at loosehead prop.

Hugh Chalmers' Bordeaux-Begles edged Exeter 34-17, and George Pisi's Northampton did likewise, 19-15 versus Glasgow. Brendon Leonard and Ma'afu Fia won 21-13 with their Ospreys club over Fritz Lee's Clermont.

In the Challenge Cup, a try to former Magpies loosie Mike Coman helped Edinburgh to a 23-0 blanking of Agen. Nick Evans and Ben Botica kicked six goals between them as Harlequins defeated Cardiff Blues 34-26. Former Wellington and North Harbour No 8 Mat Luamanu featured off the bench, while Gareth Anscombe, off the pine, made his comeback from injury for the Blues.

Brive, with William Whetton at No 6, beat Connacht 21-18, for whom Bundee Aki was at second five. The Rotorua-born Kelly Haimona, who has already played for Italy, kicked two goals as Zebre won 22-15 away at Worcester.

Former Otago lock Joe Latta featured for Gloucester in their 20-all draw with La Rochelle, for whom Jason Eaton wore the unfamiliar No 7 jersey. Nigel Hunt scored a try for Grenoble in their 28-18 win at London Irish.

David Smith's try was not enough for Castres as they fell 31-18 to the Dragons. Sitiveni Sivivatu played on the opposite wing to Smith for the French club.

Sale Sharks sealed their 27-3 win at Pau with a try to Johnny Leota. Former Manawatu halfback Jamie Booth and former North Harbour loose forward Richard Mayhew were on the receiving end of a 24-7 loss to Enisei. Anthony Tuitavake's Montpellier hammered Jimmy Tuivaiti's Calvisano 47-7.

- NZ Herald

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