England’s Ellis Genge and George Ford starred for Leicester Tigers as they maintained their unbeaten start to the Premiership season.
Genge was one of four try scorers while Ford converted two conversions and three penalties, in a hard-fought 33-26 victory against Gloucester, who picked up a losing bonus point.
“It was neck and neck, wasn’t it? What a battle,” said Genge. “We knew we weren’t going to get an easy win and I thought they were really good.
“Last season we’d have lost those games, especially away from home, but the fans were amazing and stuck with us all the way through.”
Meanwhile, reigning champions Harlequins are yet to taste defeat after prevailing 35-29 in a thrilling contest against Worcester Warriors.
English scrum-half Danny Care and prop Joe Marler will have done their international chances no harm by featuring in a Quins side who were comfortably 21-3 up at half-time after scoring three tries.
This included one from Louis Lynagh fresh off being called up to the England training squad by Eddie Jones for the forthcoming autumn internationals.
England star Genge named Leicester Tigers captain
Warriors, who fielded another England international in Ollie Lawrence, fought back valiantly and had the better of the play in the second half but fell just short in the end.
After a Round One bye, Wasps started their Premiership campaign with a dominant display against Bristol Bears.
Wasps ran riot in a 44-8 win over last year’s play-off semi-finalists with six tries, including two from Ali Crossdale on his debut, and 28 second-half points without reply.
Although Wales fly-half Callum Sheedy did get the Bears on the scoreboard with a penalty, the defeat leaves them without a win in their first two matches.
Also yet to taste victory this season are the Exeter Chiefs, who fell 26-24 at home to Northampton Saints.
A Chiefs side featuring England’s Henry Slade led 21-17 at half-time, though a last-gasp penalty from George Furbank saw the Saints snatch victory in the closing moments of the contest.
Elsewhere, three first-half tries from the Newcastle Falcons was enough to help them see off Bath 20-13 while London Irish and Sale Sharks contested a 31-31 draw in a thrilling contest at the Brentford Community Stadium.
NTAMACK AND DUPONT STAR FOR TOULOUSE
France internationals Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont scored tries as Toulose got the better of Clermont in the Top 14, with Thomas Ramos also kicking 12 points in the 27-15 win.
Ntamack latched on to Dupont’s clever chip over the defence to score his side’s first try before Dupont combined with No.8 Selevasio Tolofua to score the game-deciding try.
Elsewhere, Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle ended their winless start to the season as scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow scored a hat-trick in their 59-17 victory over Biarritz.
Stade Francais also claimed their first win of the season as they downed previously unbeaten Castres 34-10 despite being down to 14 men from the third minute.
Prop Paul Alo-Emile saw red for a dangerous tackle to leave the home side in trouble but they responded with an impressive defensive display to emerge triumphant in Paris.
Bordeaux scored 20 unanswered second-half points – including four penalties and a conversion from Matthieu Jalibert – to overcome Brive 29-10 after trailing at half-time.
Meanwhile, Gael Fickou and Camille Chat both crossed for Racing 92 as they held off a Lyon comeback to win 24-20, Pau beat Montpellier 23-22 and Perpignan edged out Toulon 12-9.
UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP BEGINS
Gareth Anscombe kicked 12 points as Ospreys came from behind to defeat Dragons 27-23 in their United Rugby Championship opener as Wayne Pivac watched on at Rodney Parade.
The 30-year-old, who played a key role in Wales’ 2019 Grand Slam, was making his competitive debut for the region after more than two years on the sidelines with a major knee injury.
Cardiff Rugby also enjoyed a winning start despite losing Rhys Priestland and Jarrod Evans in the opening 21 minutes as Wales scrum-half Lloyd Williams stepped in at No.10.
Owen Lane crossed twice along with tries from Hallam Amos, Willis Halaholo and Liam Belcher to defeat Connacht 33-21, with Tomos Williams also impressing at Arms Park.
A penalty try as well as scores from Brad Roberts, Marty Moore, Nick Timoney and Nathan Doak proved enough for Ulster to see off Glasgow Warriors 35-29 in Belfast.
There was similar drama in the Emirates Lions’ 38-26 win over Zebre in Parma as the South African side prevailed despite their Italian hosts staging a second-half recovery.
The other South Africa-Italy contest ended in a curtain-raising victory for Benetton as they started life under Marco Bortolami with a 22-18 triumph against DHL Stormers.
Elsewhere, Scotland winger Darcy Graham was the star of the show for Edinburgh as they claimed a 26-22 bonus-point win over Scarlets at the Dam Health Stadium.
In Dublin, Ireland internationals Josh van der Flier and Andrew Porter scored tries inside the opening 14 minutes as Leinster prevailed 31-3 against the Bulls at the Aviva Stadium.
Munster also kicked off their United Rugby Championship campaign with a 42-17 win over Cell C Sharks at Thomond Park, with Simon Zebo scoring twice on his return to the province.