Ben Botica is proving he is more than just a fill-in for Nick Evans at UK club Harlequins.

The former North Harbour No 10, one of the best goalkickers around, started at first five in place of the injured Evans in Quins' 25-19 Aviva Premiership win over Leicester Tigers on the weekend. He scored 20 points with his accurate boot.

Botica, son of former All Black Frano Botica, also sweetly timed a grubber to set up wing Marland Yarde for Quins' sole try. Winston Stanley (13) and Mat Luamanu (6) also turned out for the victors. The four points takes Quins up to fourth on the Premiership table.

Telusa Veainu (11), Mike FitzGerald (5) and Jono Kitto (21) played for the Tigers.

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Elsewhere, the presence of John Afoa and Jeremy Thrush in the Gloucester pack was not enough to prevent a 25-12 loss at Saracens.

Worcester, with Bryce Heem on the right wing, beat Sale, who included Sam Tuitupou and Bryn Evans, 31-23.

Thomas Waldrom's Exeter continued on their merry way, winning 22-15 at London Irish.
Frank Halai's double highlighted his strong form as Wasps won 24-18 away at Bath. Charlie and Siale Piutau featured in the backline.

Newcastle pulled clear of the relegation zone with a 26-25 win over Northampton, Richard Mayhew and Tane Takalua coming off the bench. James Wilson was on the left wing for Saints.


There were plenty of Kiwis in action in the French Top 14.

Colin Slade made perhaps the most notable contribution, scoring all 19 points, including a try, for Pau in a much needed 19-16 win at Montpellier. Conrad Smith, Chris King (who copped a yellow card) and Daniel Ramsay all celebrated the win. Tom Donnelly was in the second row for Montpellier.

Former Waikato lock Romana Graham, wearing the unfamiliar No 7 jersey, scored La Rochelle's sole try in their 28-8 win over Toulouse, for whom Paul Perez scored a try on the wing. Jason Eaton and Hikairo Forbes were two of Graham's teammates in the pack.

Ma'a Nonu scored a try as Toulon crushed Oyonnax 44-13. Tom Taylor played inside Nonu at first five. Replacement prop Soane Tonga'uiha scored Oyonnax's only try.

Nine New Zealanders featured in Racing-Metro's clash with Grenoble, won 39-35 by the Parisians, courtesy of a late Joe Rokocoko try and 14 points from the boot of Dan Carter. Prop Ben Tameifuna incurred a yellow card, while Casey Laulala and Chris Masoe featured. Grenoble included Tino Nemani (14), Nigel Hunt (12), Rory Grice (8) and Steven Setephano (6).

Former All Black Isaia Toeava, still only 30, has found a new home at Clermont, where he played fullback in the 28-17 victory over Castres. Hosea Gear was at No 12 and Fritz Lee No 8, though he was sinbinned. Wing David Smith scored a try for Castres, while Sitiveni Sivivatu did not trouble the scorers on the other wing.

Stade Francais, with Paul Williams and Zak Taulafo in their ranks, beat Brive 32-17, while Peter Saili and Hugh Chalmers were in the loose as Bordeaux-Begles edged Agen 24-19.

In the PRO12, Scarlets fullback Michael Collins, a schoolboy star in his Otago BHS days, scored a brace as his club pipped Ulster 21-20.

Zebre fullback Mils Muliaina looked on as his old club Connacht cemented their top billing with a 51-34 win. Bundee Aki, Tom McCartney and Jake Heenan were in the mix.

Grayson Hart's Glasgow beat Munster 27-24, and Brendon Leonard and Ma'afu Fia's Ospreys defeated Phil Burleigh's Edinburgh 27-13.

Jayden Hayward kicked two conversions, which proved crucial, as Treviso edged Nick Crosswell's Dragons 19-17.

A try to Isa Nacewa proved decisive as Leinster won a narrow 14-13 victory at Cardiff Blues, whose ranks included Rey Lee-Lo, Gareth Anscombe and Jarrad Hoeata.