Robshaw bids Quins farewell as Halfpenny impresses in Scarlets defeat

With the return of the Guinness Six Nations now only three weeks away, stars across Europe have been putting in big performances on a domestic front.

With the return of the Guinness Six Nations now only three weeks away, stars across Europe have been putting in big performances on a domestic front.

With an eye on impressing their national bosses and staying in favour ahead of a busy international autumn there was a weekend of drama across the domestic divisions.

Beginning with the Premiership, it was a bittersweet final round of the regular season with several long-serving players bowing out.

Most notably, Chris Robshaw celebrated his 300th and final appearance for Harlequins ahead of moving to the United States with victory as they beat Leicester Tigers 32-26.

Former England captain Robshaw led his country in four straight agonising second place finishes in the Six Nations but tasted success without the armband in England’s Grand Slam-winning 2016 triumph.

Saracens captain Brad Barritt, meanwhile, called time on his Premiership career in a dramatic 17-17 draw with Bath, who must now wait on Sale’s postponed contest on Wednesday to see if they will make the semi-finals.

Barritt featured in 12 Six Nations contests between 2012 and 2014 and has won all there is to win in an era which his club side has dominated.

And Richard Wigglesworth also called time on his Saracens career on his 250th appearance, the scrum-half having featured in 13 Six Nations contests through his career.

Wasps saw off Exeter Chiefs 46-5 to book a home semi-final while Bristol Bears beat London Irish 36-7 to also secure a top four place.

Meanwhile, in the PRO14 there was plenty of thrills to be had as 14-man Munster staged a remarkable comeback from 27-17 down with 11 minutes to play to beat Scarlets 30-27.

The victory was secured with the final kick of the game thanks to Ben Healy’s 50-metre penalty – the 21-year-old shining under immense pressure and showing that he could perhaps be a future Ireland prospect at fly-half.

Veteran Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny enjoyed a brilliant afternoon on a personal level despite his side falling to defeat, as he successfully converted a record-breaking nine penalties.

Halfpenny has endured international struggles in the last few years, forced to watch on as Liam Williams took over his position in Wales’ brilliant Grand Slam last year, but on this form and having featured throughout the 2020 Guinness Six Nations Halfpenny is a man reborn.

There was further drama involving an Irish province as Connacht edged past Glasgow Warriors 28-24 in a thrilling encounter.

Irish eyes will be smiling when the Guinness Six Nations resumes if Bundee Aki keeps this form up, the 30-year-old centre scoring two tries in a brilliant display.

Elsewhere, Ospreys were mightily impressive as they beat last season’s semi-finalists Edinburgh 25-10 thanks to a Mat Protheroe double.

The England-qualified talent put in a showing full of speed and strength and could well catch the eye of Eddie Jones if he can maintain this kind of standard.

And defending champions Leinster picked up where they left off as they breezed past Dragons 35-5, but Andy Farrell would have been watching nervously as Ireland captain Johnny Sexton was taken off just 18 minutes into the contest.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has insisted it was just a ‘precaution’ but it certainly will have put a few shivers down Irish fans spines.

In the Top 14, Clermont and Brive moved level on points with Racing 92 at the top of the standings.

Clermont beat struggling Agen 31-12 thanks to tries from France sevens internationals Tavite Veredamu and Jean-Pascal Barraque while Brive edged past Pau 19-13.

Elsewhere, Bayonne beat Stade Francais for the first time away from home since November 2010 thanks to 21 points from uncapped French full-back Gaetan Germain.