We’ve taken a look at the best of Saturday’s domestic action involving Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clubs, with Handré Pollard notching a huge points haul for Leicester Tigers.
21-point Pollard on song
Fly-half Pollard amassed 21 points in Leicester’s 48-27 triumph over Bath Rugby at Mattioli Woods Welford Road as they moved third in the Gallagher Premiership.
The South African, who tallied 30 points over two games in the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage, struck five conversions and two penalties as well as dotting down for a first-half try.
Julian Montoya went over for try brace, with Harry Potter, Hanro Liebenberg and Harry Wells also crossing as Leicester build momentum ahead of their Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clash with Edinburgh Rugby on March 31.
Smith stars in Quins thrashing
Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith impressed on his first Gallagher Premiership start since October as he inspired his side to a 40-5 drubbing of Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham Stadium.
Smith is Quins’ leading points-scorer in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup on 21 and added 10 more to his domestic haul with five conversions on Saturday, but it was his playmaking and tactical kicking that caught the eye at the home of English rugby.
Joe Marchant (2), Caden Murley, Josh Bassett, Sam Riley and Stephan Lewies grabbed tries in a superb Quins performance, with Jack Innard’s second-half score all Exeter could muster.
The pure STRENGTH of @SiyaKolisi 🤯
Check out the #EPOTY2023 nominee's best moments for @SharksRugby in #HeinekenChampionsCup this season ➡️ https://t.co/jA2lIX6AsH
🎥 @SuperSportTV @Springboks pic.twitter.com/RVLgHZnju1
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 2, 2023
Blommetjies double for DHL Stormers
Two Clayton Blommetjies tries helped DHL Stormers defeat Cell C Sharks 29-23 at DHL Stadium and solidify their second-place position in the United Rugby Championship (URC).
The hosts were 26-6 up on their fellow South African EPCR debutants thanks to Blommetjies’ double and further efforts from Sacha Mngomezulu and BJ Dixon, but needed to cling on in the closing stages amid yellow cards for Sazi Sandi and Seabelo Senatla.
Yaw Penxe, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Grant Williams all got over for Cell C Sharks in the second half but the visitors fell just short in Cape Town.
Leinster edge Edinburgh thriller
Elsewhere in the URC, Leinster Rugby’s stunning season continued as they came out on top of an 11-try thriller against Edinburgh Rugby, triumphing 47-27 at DAM Health Stadium.
The Irish province won all four of their Heineken Champions Cup pool stage games in impressive fashion and have now recorded 15 straight wins in the URC thanks to tries from Scott Penny (2), Michael Milne (2), Max Deegan, Dave Kearney and Michael Ala’alatoa.
Edinburgh were ultimately overpowered but there was a lift for them ahead of their Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 trip to Leicester as the returning Emiliano Boffelli put up 15 points, including two tries, while Boan Venter and Sam Skinner also dotted down.
Hastoy steers La Rochelle to victory
In the TOP 14, reigning Heineken Champions Cup winners Stade Rochelais snatched a 36-32 win at Section Paloise amid a 26-point haul from Antoine Hastoy and a late UJ Seuteni score.
Fly-half Hastoy, the leading points-scorer in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, dotted down for La Rochelle’s second try after Levani Botia had crossed, converting both those efforts and adding five penalties.
But Pau took the lead heading into the final five minutes, only for centre Seuteni to cross in the dying seconds, sending La Rochelle second in the table.