AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
23 Oct 2021
8:17 pm

Reinach stars for Montpellier in front of touring Springboks

AFP

The world champions are in France for the next week to avoid a coronavirus quarantine in Britain before facing Wales on November 6.

South African scrum-half Cobus Reinach scored two tries for Montpellier in the France Top League on Saturday and is the favourite to wear the No 9 in next month's Tests in Europe. Picture: Phill Magakoe / AFP

South Africa scrumhalf Cobus Reinach scored twice in front of his Test team-mates as Montpellier enjoyed a 32-21 win over Racing 92 in the French Top 14 on Saturday.

The Springboks are in France for the next week to avoid a coronavirus quarantine in Britain before facing Wales on November 6.

The likes of Rugby World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi and utility back Francois Steyn, who played for both the French clubs, watched from the La Defense Arena stands as Reinach staked his claim for a starting berth next month with regular scrumhalf Faf de Klerk missing through injury.

The Springboks also head to Scotland on November 13 before travelling to England a week later in a re-run of the 2019 World Cup final.

Reinach, 31, who will join up with the Boks before the trip to Cardiff, opened the scoring after five minutes, diving over from short range.

His club and international team-mate Handre Pollard started at centre for the first time since May 2018 and kicked a 55m penalty goal.

The former Northampton Saints half-back completed his double just before the interval with a superb 80m effort where he outsprinted Argentina winger Juan Imhoff after having ripped possession from Racing’s No. 8 Yoan Tanga.

Pollard, who suffered a serious knee injury on the same pitch in September 2020, failed to repeat his first half exploit as he missed a long-range penalty with 10 minutes to play but Montpellier held on to move up to seventh in the table. 

Slick Saili

Earlier, former New Zealand centre Francis Saili also scored twice to take promoted Biarritz from the bottom of the table with a 37-9 home win over Brive.

The Basque side were winless in four matches before hosting the 1997 European champions but Saili crossed either side of the break to send the Basque outfit above Perpignan to 13th place.

Victory for Biarritz, a first since September 18, was secured in the final five minutes as Fiji loose forward Johnny Dyer scored and Saili became the provider with a delicate out-the-back-door off-load for ex-Wallabies winger Henry Speight.

Elsewhere, Saili’s fellow former All Black and fly-half Lima Sopoaga scored his first Top 14 points with a conversion in Lyon’s 23-18 loss at Stade Francais.

Sopoaga, who joined the French outfit from Wasps this term, was denied a maiden penalty for his new side as he took more than the 60 seconds allowed with an effort in the final quarter.

“It happens. Welcome to the Top 14,” Lyon coach Pierre Mignoni said.

“It’s part of the sport, but that’s not why we lost them. It’s not the goal-kickers’ fault,” he added.

Later, Australian twins Richie and Rory Arnold are at lock as Toulouse host Castres almost 100 years to the day since the sides first met on October 30, 1920.

On Sunday, Toulon head coach Patrice Collazo is under pressure as he takes his outfit to former club La Rochelle.

Next weekend Top 14 clubs are set to be without their France squad members as Les Bleus prepare to host Argentina on November 6.