Top of the table clashes across Europe headlined a bumper weekend of women’s domestic rugby and TikTok Women’s Six Nations stars shone brighter than ever.
Exeter Chiefs atoned for their Grand Final defeat in the Premier 15s and Blagnac are likewise on a mission to reach the Elite 1 showpiece in June.
In Italy, Valsugana prevailed in a hard-fought blockbuster, while Munster are one win away from defending their Interpros crown.
Exeter Chiefs early onslaught too much for champions Saracens
In a repeat of last season’s Allianz Premier 15s final, Exeter Chiefs ran in six tries against Saracens at Sandy Park to secure their sixth straight win.
A Chiefs side featuring Ireland captain Nichola Fryday and England’s Claudia MacDonald triumphed 37-19 against England teammates Marlie Packer, Poppy Cleall, Leanne Infante and Holly Aitchison.
The victory keeps up the pressure on early leaders Gloucester-Hartpury who are still yet to taste defeat after a 46-12 victory at home to England captain Sarah Hunter’s Loughborough Lightning.
English centre Tatyana Heard was the standout performer in a team studded with TikTok Women’s Six Nations talent, including Ireland’s Sam Monaghan and Zoe Aldcroft who only returned from injury last weekend.
Elsewhere, a London derby saw Harlequins run out 71-0 victors over Wasps ahead of Quins facing Gloucester-Hartpury next weekend.
England full-back Ellie Kildunne took the headlines with a four-try haul, but compatriot Lucy Packer and Scotland star Jade Konkel-Roberts also put in tremendous performances.
Finally, Lark Davies, Keira Bevan and Elinor Snowsill’s Bristol Bears retained fourth with a 48-21 win over Sale Sharks.
Toulouse gain ground on Montpellier with last-minute try
After two straight defeats to open the season, Elite 1 reigning champions Toulouse roared back in a dramatic 20-17 victory over Montpellier.
Three-time France international Brandy Cazorla scored a brace of second-half tries, including the winner in the 80th minute.
Montpellier’s twins Romane and Marine Ménager found themselves on the losing side for the first time this season, despite the former going over just after the restart to give the visitors a 14-10 lead.
But above them both at the top of Pool 1 are Morgane Bourgeois’ Stade Bordelais who claimed a 30-0 away victory over Lons Section Paloise.
Meanwhile in Pool 2, last season’s losing finalists Blagnac remain the team to beat and were given a boost last week when ten of their stars were awarded post-World Cup contracts until 2024.
Four of them crossed the whitewash on Saturday in their 45-3 victory at home to Lyon: Charlotte Escudero, Gabrielle Vernier, Celia Domain and Audrey Forlani.
Stefan try enough to keep Valsugana on top
Sofia Stefan gave reigning champions Valsugana a crucial 5-3 win over Arredissima Villorba at the top of the Eccellenza Femminile.
Her try came in the 20th minute and though Italian centre Beatrice Capomaggi reduced the deficit with a penalty early in the second half, Beatrice Rigoni’s Valsugana held on to go seven points clear at the top.
Giada Franco and Isabella Locatelli’s Colorno are now the closest challengers, recording a comfortable 27-5 win away at a Cus Milano missing Maria Magatti, with Veronica Madia kicking seven points for the visitors.
Munster one away from defending title
Munster were victorious in the eagerly-awaited match-up with Leinster in the Interpros, the 14-time champions claiming a 26-17 win.
Young flanker Maeve Og O’Leary starred with a player of the match performance and scrum-half Nicole Cronin notched three conversions to give Munster the chance to lift the title away at Connacht next weekend.
And in the other match, two-time champions Ulster are still searching for their first win since 2012 after losing 25-19 at a blustery Ravenhill.
Birthday girl Ciara Barrett, 19, scored the decisive try to put the result beyond all doubt, and Connacht now have the chance to win their first ever title if they defeat Munster.