Elliot Daly produced a man-of-the-match display on his Saracens debut as the England flyer helped his new side convincingly beat Ospreys in the Champions Cup.
Daly started every game of England’s recent run to the World Cup final but will now focus on club duty in new surroundings after a summer move from Wasps.
He got his first Sarries points with a trademark long penalty and then set up winger Rotimi Segun for two of the hosts’ six tries, including one with a scintillating offload out of the back of his hand, as an Ospreys side still shorn of their Wales World Cup stars fell to a heavy 44-3 defeat.
With England’s wealth of options on the back three, Daly making his mark for Saracens over the next couple of months will be vital in him retaining the starting No.15 jersey come the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.
Nowell and Slade make Exeter tick
One of those back-three options at Eddie Jones’ disposal is Jack Nowell, with the winger also being named man of the match in Exeter Chiefs’s 34-18 triumph over Glasgow Warriors.
He jinked inside two Glasgow defenders before releasing England team-mate Henry Slade for a crucial score just after half-time.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) November 23, 2019
The duo were then involved again in a move started by Nowell, as Slade slid a clever grubber through for Tom O’Flaherty to dot down and put the game beyond the Warriors.
Stuart Hogg also faced his old club for the first time since the summer move to Exeter and the Scotland full-back looked desperate to impress – making a number of breaks from deep as he ended up on the winning side.
Russell produces magic in thriller at Munster
Munster have lost exactly one home Champions Cup match against Top 14 opposition in 31 attempts, but a Finn Russell-inspired Racing 92 came perilously close to making that two.
The Scotland fly-half pulled the strings for Racing at Thomond Park, scoring his side’s first try with an outrageously cheeky bit of play – grubbering the ball through the legs of Rory Scannell and collecting his own kick to dot down.
In the second half, Russell slalomed between two defenders before drawing in the last man and feeding Juan Imhoff for a score that put the French side 21-14 up.
In between those, France winger Teddy Thomas underlined his fine recent form with a fine finish down the right when put into space.
But Munster – for whom Ireland flyer Keith Earls had dotted down in the first half – levelled the score at 21-21 in the closing stages when a long JJ Hanrahan pass put Andrew Conway over in the corner and the match ended level.
Finn Russell with one of the most sublime moments of skill you’ll see on a rugby pitch 😍
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) November 23, 2019
Defences on top in Lyon
It was a more attritional match at the Stade Gerland as Johnny Sexton led Leinster to a 13-6 victory over Lyon – Max Deegan scoring the only try of the match.
But it was the Irish side’s defence that truly made the difference, as they withstood relentless Lyon pressure from a side that included the likes of French internationals Demba Bamba and Baptiste Couilloud.
Also in France, Yoann Huget got one of four Toulouse tries and Thomas Ramos booted 12 points as they beat Connacht 32-17.
And for the second week in a row, Wales No.10 Dan Biggar was the key as he slotted a penalty with the final kick of the game to see Northampton Saints past Benetton Rugby 35-32 in a thriller in Treviso.