It was a winning day for USA players on pro teams overseas Saturday.
Todd Clever was the big hero for NTT Communications in Japan. Clever started at No. 8 for the Shining Arcs in their playoff game against Kyushu. NTT fell behind 12-3 at halftime and 24-13 down with 15 minutes to go, but started to inch their way back. In the final minute, Clever scored the try to make it 27-26, Kyushu still ahead. Then Yokio Kimishima slotted the conversion to secure a dramatic come-from-behind win for NTT.
Also in Japan, Toshiba lost 50-30 to Kintetsu. Former Cal prop Anthony Estrella did not play.
The French Top 14 started up again, and the good news for USA fans is that Scott LaValla was in the starting lineup for Stade Francais. LaValla left a game on December 22 with a suspected concussion. It turned out he was OK, and started at lock for Paris as they beat Bayonne 21-13.
Stade Francais improved to 7-7-1, and are 9th in the Top 14.
Meanwhile, also in the Top 14, Taku Ngwenya started at right wing for Biarritz as they edged Agen 16-11. Biarritz improved to 8-7, and sit 7th.
In England, Robbie Shaw and Richmond lost 24-22 to Blaydon in SSE National 1. Further up the levels to the Premiership, Samu Manoa was on the bench as Northampton beat Exeter 30-19. The Saints moved up to 4th in the League.
UPDATE: On Sunday in England Chris Wyles helped Saracens to a 32-12 drubbing of Sale in the Aviva Premiership. Saracens improve to 10-2-1 to remain in second place.
Wasps (Paul Emerick not playing) beat Bath 29-15 to improve to 7-6 and move into 4th.
So this was a top-level sweep for USA players overseas. Five USA players players suited up for teams in the Japan Top League, French Top 14, or Aviva Premiership, with four starting. All five teams won.