Roundup: Kiwis in Europe

By Campbell Burnes

Bundee Aki. Photo / Getty Images.
Bundee Aki. Photo / Getty Images.

Connacht, with a strong New Zealand presence in the coaching and playing ranks, are through to their first Guinness PRO12 final after defeating Glasgow Warriors 16-11 at the weekend.

Coach Pat Lam dedicated the win to all the rugby fans in the west of Ireland. He started Tom McCartney at hooker, Jake Heenan at flanker, and Bundee Aki at second five.

Halfback Grayson Hart came off the bench for the Warriors.

Saturday's final, at the neutral venue of Murrayfield in Scotland, will see Connacht face Leinster, who overcame Ulster 30-18. Fullback Isa Nacewa scored a try for the victors, while Jared Payne and Sean Reidy both started for Ulster.

In England's Aviva Premiership, Thomas Waldrom's Exeter Chiefs will contest their first final, after defeating Wasps 34-23. Waldrom was a replacement for the Chiefs, while Jimmy Gopperth kicked five goals for Wasps. Charlie Piutau's short stint with the club is over. He played fullback and brother Siale was at No 12. Frank Halai was on the wing and Nathan Hughes at No 8.

Exeter will face European champions Saracens who crushed Leicester Tigers 44-17. The Tigers fielded wing Telusa Veainu (who scored a try), replacement halfback Jono Kitto, and loose forwards Mike FitzGerald and Brendon O'Connor.

In the French Top 14, which still has two more rounds to play, Castres hit their straps, putting 67-20 on La Rochelle. Sitiveni Sivivatu scored a double for Castres, while David Smith scored one. La Rochelle fielded Alofa Alofa (11), Uini Atonio (3) and Hikairo Forbes (2).

Joe Rokocoko scored a try as Racing-Metro cast aside a Kiwi-less Pau 43-13.

Ma'a Nonu was at No 12 as Toulon smashed George Tilsley's Agen 52-13. Fritz Lee and Benson Stanley helped Clermont to a 36-10 win over Stade Francais. Luke McAlister slotted a penalty goal as Toulouse beat Oyonnax 25-17. No 8 Viliami Ma'afu scored a try for the relegation-bound Oyonnax.

Four goals by first five Simon Hickey were not enough to stop his Bordeaux-Begles club from losing 19-16 to Anthony Tuitavake's Montpellier.

William Whetton came off the bench as his Brive overwhelmed Grenoble, who featured Sona Taumalolo and Rory Grice, 45-24.

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