England fly-half Marcus Smith showed nerves of steel to help Harlequins beat Exeter Chiefs at the death in a repeat of last season’s Gallagher Premiership final.
Smith is likely to make his Guinness Six Nations bow next month and executed a pinpoint cross-field kick to Andre Esterhuizen for a crucial late try.
The No.10 then stepped up to slot a touchline conversion – which went in off the post – to seal a 14-12 victory over the Devonians who were down to 14 men for the entirety of the second half following Alec Hepburn’s red card.
Smith’s Red Rose colleague Ellis Genge had less to smile about, however, as the Leicester Tigers captain saw his side lose their 100 per cent league record away at Wasps.
Genge was celebrating the occasion of his 100th appearance but was sent to the sin-bin and saw his side go down 16-13 at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
It was a weekend of firsts in the Premiership, as Bath finally recorded a victory with a 22-19 win at home to Worcester Warriors.
The Warriors had Scotland prop Rory Sutherland sent off after 75 seconds and battled valiantly but Bath, led by England second row Charlie Ewels, recorded a much-needed result at The Rec.
Wales fly-half Dan Biggar kicked 17 points as Northampton Saints eased to a 44-8 victory away at Newcastle Falcons and Gloucester narrowly edged out Saracens 25-24 to earn their first win in nine in north London.
Bristol Bears also returned to winning ways with a 32-15 triumph over Sale Sharks on Friday night.
Pat Lam’s men won for the first time in five games thanks to a double from Luke Morahan with England’s Tom Curry unable to lead his Sharks to glory despite going into the break just four points down.
In the United Rugby Championship, Tadhg Beirne starred as Munster pulled off a hugely impressive 18-13 win over Ulster.
Beirne only started on the blindside flank after Irish colleague Peter O’Mahony’s late withdrawal but put in a phenomenal individual display to help his side come out on top despite having to play 65 minutes with 14 men after Simon Zebo’s red card.
Ireland Under-20s captain Alex Kendellen, only promoted to the 23 after O’Mahony pulled out, scored five minutes from the end to seal the victory.
Both Scottish sides chalked up victories with Edinburgh’s fast start helping them to a comfortable 34-10 win over Cardiff.
Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe kicked 14 points in a losing cause for the Ospreys as Scotland international Sione Tuipulotu’s try double helped Glasgow Warriors emerge 38-19 victors.
Across the channel, France winger Damian Penaud’s early try could not prevent his Clermont Auvergne side going down 33-28 away to Racing 92, whose side featured Guinness Six Nations regulars Finn Russell and Gael Fickou.
But Les Bleus star Melvyn Jaminet fared much better as the full-back’s late penalty earned his Perpignan side a 25-23 win over Biarritz in a repeat of last season’s promotion final.
Elsewhere, Lyon eased past Pau 35-10 and Bordeaux Bègles clung on to top spot after overcoming an 11-point deficit to edge past Brive 22-19.
And Castres moved into third place with a 15-9 win over Stade Francais.