After six years the Mike MacDonald era at Leeds has come to a close. Leeds announce earlier this week that MacDonald, along with a host of players including Robbie Shaw, will not be back with the team next year. MacDonald has spent the majority of his professional career with Leeds, often captaining the side. He was with the team as they bounced back and forth from the RFU Championship to the Premiership and back. Where MacDonald goes next is still up in the air but for a solid prop with a lot of experience, he will certainly have opportunities.
In that last game, MacDonald started and went 70 minutes as Leeds beat the Cornish Pirates 42-25 in the last pool match of the RFU Championship playoffs. Compatriot Robbie Shaw was not in the lineup. Shaw has battled injuries all season but with some time off, should be ready to go for a potential Eagles call-up. On the victorious side of the encounter was Andrew Suniula who started and played 80 minutes. The Pirates will play Bristol in the playoff semi-finals in two weeks.
Also playing in the RFU Championship semi-finals is Shawn Pittman who went 62 minutes as London Welsh beat Nottingham 33-25. Welsh play Bedford in the semi-finals and have asked to have their books looked at to see if they can qualify for promotion.
Down in France, Taku Ngwenya had a fantastic match for Biarritz, picking up a try his team’s 22-13 victory over Racing Metro.
Ngwenya started and went 80 minutes. Biarritz have climbed well above the relegation zone and are pushing for a European spot.
Scott LaValla got back in the action for Stade Francais as he played the last five minutes of Stade’s 35-31 victory over Perpignan.
Seta Tuilevuka was not in the lineup for Montpellier as they lost to Clermont 22-9. Montpellier sit in the middle of the table.
In the ProD2 Inaki Basauri started and played 80 minutes for Perigueux as they lost to Mont de Marsan 27-19.
Back in the British Isles, Chris Wyles started and went 80 minutes at centre for the Saracens as they came out with a hard-fought 9-3 victory over Newcastle. Still, the Saracens didn’t pick up enough points to gain second-place in the table and still sit behind Leicester.
The Saracens victory over Newcastle was a huge lift for Paul Emerick and London Wasps who are fighting to avoid relegation. The Wasps lost to Bath 17-12 but didn’t lose ground to Newcastle. Emerick is injured and did not play.
Also fighting for position is Samu Manoa, Chris Biller, and Northampton who picked up a huge 18-15 victory over Exeter to claim the inside track on the last playoff spot with one match remaining. Neither Manoa nor Biller played. Manoa has been injured in recent weeks.
In the RaboDirectPro12, Hanno Dirksen played 80 minutes for the Ospreys as they beat the Dragons 31-12. The Ospreys sit second in the table.
Tommy Seymour started and played 61 minutes for the Glasgow Warriors as they topped Benetton Treviso 13-8. Canadian DTH van der Merwe returned from injury and scored a big try. Glasgow occupy the last playoff spot.
Callum Black was not in the lineup for Ulster as they lost to Leinster 16-8 on Friday. Ulster sit sixth in the table.
Down in South Africa, JJ Gagiano started once again for the Golden Lions as they lost to the Pumas 33-37.
Tim Usasz couldn’t coach his Barking side to a win as they lost to Sedgley Park 26-39.