One door shuts, another opens for Sowakula

This will be the talented rugby couple’s last summer in New Zealand, leaving for France late next year, after the conclusion of the NPC and FPC seasons.

The past few months have been hard for the family, with Sowakula missing out on national selection.

“It was pretty tough at times,” the 28-year-old admits. “Plans have been put in place to go (to France), and we are doing it together.”

His 22 Test capped Black Fern partner, Natua, agrees.

“The opportunity has been presented, so we are here to make the most of it,” she said.

Montpellier squeeze past Clermont

Nemani Nadolo powered over for a score that was confirmed by the video referee in the 79th minute and Ruan Pienaar held his nerve to split the posts for a match-clinching conversion.

Montpellier return to the top of the table as a result, but Clermont remain well adrift of the top six having again failed to transfer their European Champions Cup form to the domestic league.

Clermont beaten by Bordeaux-Begles

Clermont led by seven points at the interval on Saturday, but were beaten 32-25 as Bordeaux – in their first competitive game under Jacques Brunel – came on strong in the second half.

Both sides scored three tries apiece, with Simon Hickey's five penalties proving decisive for Bordeaux.

Racing 92 came roaring back from 18-3 down to record a 25-21 victory over Castres, Louis Dupichot claiming the match-winning try with just three minutes remaining.

Saracens, Clermont seal progression

Sarries looked set to suffer a first defeat in Pool 3 when they trailed by seven points at Parc y Scarlets with the clock having ticked past 80 minutes and Will Skelton in the sin bin.

However, England playmaker Farrell then dummied his way through the home backline and passed inside for Chris Ashton to go over by the posts, before adding the extras to the winger's second try.