Guinness Six Nations stars returned to domestic action at the weekend following the conclusion of the Autumn Nations Series, with Premiership Rugby, Top 14 and United Rugby Championship matches taking place.
The action in the English Premiership action began with Exeter Chiefs’ 23-16 win over Bath Rugby at Sandy Park on Friday night.
A late try from England No.8 Sam Simmonds sealed victory for the Chiefs, with fellow Red Rose international Henry Slade also scoring a conversion and two penalties.
Harlequins were dealt a blow as they fell 22-19 at the Stoop to London Irish, with Italy fly-half Tommaso Allan forced off before half-time with a shoulder injury.
In one of the most dramatic matches of the weekend, Gloucester Rugby fended off a late surge from Wasps to prevail 35-33 at Kingsholm.
England winger Jonny May scored a try and Billy Twelvetrees also bagged a brace for the Cherry and Whites, with Scotland fly-half Adam Hastings successfully kicking three conversions and three penalties to help seal victory.
Elsewhere, Dan Biggar converted two conversions and four penalties and George Furbank was among the try scorers as Northampton Saints continued their strong start to the season with a 36-20 victory over Bristol Bears.
While at Kingston Park, Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors contested a 24-24 draw in a match delayed by almost 24 hours due to Storm Arwen, with England winger Adam Radwan among the try scorers for the Falcons.
And in Sunday’s match, tries from Ben Curry and England scrum-half Raffi Quirke weren’t enough for Sale Sharks as they fell 25-14 to Saracens, with Max Malins continuing his fine form for club and country with yet another try.
In the Top 14, Toulouse maintained their position at the top of the table with victory over Brive.
Six Thomas Ramos penalties was all that was needed for the league leaders, who sealed an 18-11 victory at the Ernest Wallon Stadium.
Montpellier edged their way past Castres Olympique with a tight 25-24 victory, with Italy fly-half Paolo Garbisi and France full-back Anthony Bouthier among the scorers.
Bouthier was one of three try scorers for Montpelier, while Garbisi struck two conversions and a penalty.
Elsewhere, La Rochelle ran out comfortable 36-8 winners against Pau, with Jules Favre one of five different try scorers for the victors.
Melvyn Jaminet starred for Perpignan in a tight 26-24 victory over a Clermont side featuring Morgan Parra, with Jaminet converting two conversions and scoring four penalties.
Argentina’s Tomas Cubelli was among the try scorers as Biarritz defeated Stade Francais 17-14, while Louis Carbonel and Anthony Belleau both kicked successful penalties for Toulon in a 19-13 victory versus Lyon.
In Sunday’s late match, tries from French internationals Teddy Thomas and Camille Chat proved to be mere consolations for Racing 92 as they fell 37-14 to second-place Bordeaux.
Meanwhile in the URC, Ulster drew level on points with Leinster at the top of the table thanks to a 20-10 win.
James Hume was among the try scorers for Ulster who now join Leinster on 24 points after the opening six matches of the season.
While Leonardo Marin, fresh off making his Italy A debut, scored a last-gasp penalty as Bennetton claimed a dramatic 19-18 victory over Glasgow Warriors.
Elsewhere, things were much less dramatic for Connacht as they ran out comfortable 46-18 winners against Ospreys, while Blair Kinghorn scored two conversions and two penalties for Edinburgh as they beat Dragons 30-14.