Rugby: Kiwis in Europe

By Campbell Burnes

Former Auckland and Blues coach Pat Lam (left) and former Counties Manukau and Chiefs midfielder Bundee Aki celebrate winning the Guiness PRO 12. Photo / Getty Images
Former Auckland and Blues coach Pat Lam (left) and former Counties Manukau and Chiefs midfielder Bundee Aki celebrate winning the Guiness PRO 12. Photo / Getty Images

Pat Lam can add the Guinness PRO12 to two NPCs with Auckland on his rugby coaching CV after his Connacht side scored the biggest win in their 131-year history.

Connacht, so long the easybeats of Irish rugby, toppled Leinster, a province with a strong recent pedigree, 20-10, in the PRO12 final before nearly 35,000 at Murrayfield.

Tom McCartney started at hooker, while Jake Heenan was at openside for Connacht, with prop Rodney Ah You off the pine, but the biggest impact came from second five Bundee Aki.

The former Chiefs and Steelers midfielder helped set up the opening try to Tiernan O'Halloran, while he also rattled Johnny Sexton with a crunching hit.

Lock Hayden Triggs was a replacement for Leinster.

In a rare Kiwi-less final, European champions Saracens won England's Aviva Premiership, 28-20 over Exeter Chiefs. No 8 Thomas Waldrom of Exeter was devastated to miss the decider with a knee injury.

The penultimate round of the French Top 14 was played over the weekend.

Colin Slade was amongst the points for Pau in their 29-12 win over Grenoble. The former All Black scored two tries and kicked two goals. Conrad Smith and Daniel Ramsay also started for the home team, while Steven Setephano was in the loose forwards for Grenoble.

Simon Hickey slotted five goals to help his Bordeaux-Begles defeat Brive 34-7. Luke Braid was a substitute for the former.

Luke McAlister kicked a penalty goal for Toulouse in their 22-11 victory over leaders Clermont. His teammates included Corey Flynn (2), Census Johnston (3), Joe Tekori (5) and Paul Perez (11). Benson Stanley was at second five for Clermont.

Stade Francais edged Agen 28-26, with George Tilsley at fullback for the latter.

David Smith scored the winning try for Castres to take the 25-20 victory at Oyonnax. Rudi Wulf was at centre for Castres. Loose forward Viliami Ma'afu scored a try for Oyonnax.

A try to La Rochelle hooker Hikairo Forbes was not enough as his club went down 30-14 to Racing-Metro, who included Ben Tameifuna at prop and Joe Rokocoko off the pine. Uini Atonio and Jason Eaton were in the La Rochelle pack.

Anthony Tuitavake's Montpellier toppled Ma'a Nonu's Toulon 36-21 in the Sunday night fixture.

The final round will be played this weekend.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 27 Feb 2017 08:46:40 Processing Time: 882ms