Reinach double helps Montpellier to victory in front of touring Springboks

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Montpellier's Cobus Reinach  (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Montpellier's Cobus Reinach (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

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 6 November.

The likes of Rugby World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi and head coach Jacques Nienaber 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.

"Cobus came back to bring his experience," Montpellier coach Philippe Saint-Andre said.

"He was also playing in front of his coach and he scores two tries," he added.

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 halfback 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 18 September, 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 offload 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.

"Well that'll teach me for taking my sweet time," Sopoaga posted on Twitter.

"We dust ourselves off & go again," he added.

Later Saturday, Toulouse bounced back in style from their first loss of the season last weekend against Lyon to rout Castres 41-0.

The win came almost 100 years to the day since the sides first met on 30 October 1920.

The defending champions ran in five tries from Maxime Medard, Thomas Ramos, Romain Ntamack and two by Argentine winger Juan Cruz Mallia on his return to the club from international duty with the Pumas in the Rugby Championship.

On Sunday, Toulon head coach Patrice Collazo is under pressure as he takes his team 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 6 November.

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