Van der Flier and Dupont among Guinness Six Nations to shine on European duty

Josh van der Flier 7/2/2021
Guinness Six Nations stars took centre stage once more across a packed weekend in the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup.

Guinness Six Nations stars took centre stage once more across a packed weekend in the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup.

Leinster’s Ireland stars made it two convincing wins from two games with a 57-0 win against Gloucester.

World Rugby Player of the Year Josh van der Flier crossed the whitewash for the hosts and led the way in a convincing win which saw James Ryan, Luke McGrath, Jordan Larmour and Caelan Doris also cross.

France’s half-back partnership put on a show as Toulouse beat Sale Sharks 45-19 at Stade Ernest-Wallon.

The French Top 14 leaders scored seven tries, including two from scrum-half Antoine Dupont and one from fly-half Romain Ntamack, with both players impressing against Alex Sanderson’s side.

Thibaud Flament, Cyril Baille and Lucas Tauzin also went over for Toulouse, while Bevan Rodd, Akker van der Merwe and Jonny Hill scored Sale’s three tries and Thomas Ramos was sent off for a headbutt late on.

England internationals Jamie George and Ben Earl scored as Saracens made it back-to-back Heineken Champions Cup wins with a 28-20 triumph over Lyon.

George and Earl put Sarries 15-0 up inside 20 minutes but the hosts struck back and went 17-15 ahead after prop Hamza Kaabeche’s double and a try from Fletcher Smith.

But Scotland ace Sean Maitland went over to wrap up the win, with Owen Farrell kicking a late penalty to make sure of things.

George’s fellow England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie scored a sensational first-half hat-trick as Exeter Chiefs beat Bulls 44-14 at Sandy Park, and scrum-half Ben Youngs impressed as Leicester Tigers beat ASM Clermont Auvergne 23-16.

Ireland’s Joey Carbery kicked seven points as Munster Rugby bounced back from last week’s loss against Toulouse with a 17-6 win over Northampton Saints.

And Carbery’s fellow Ireland international Iain Henderson scored in Ulster’s hard-fought 36-29 defeat against La Rochelle.

Italy star Tommaso Allan recorded his first win in the Heineken Champions Cup this season as Harlequins beat Racing 92 14-10 at Twickenham Stoop.

In the European Challenge Cup, Wales winger Josh Adams inspired Cardiff Rugby to a 47-10 win over Newcastle Falcons with a brilliant double.

Fly-half Rhys Priestland also crossed the whitewash, with Taulupe Faletau and Tomos Williams impressing around the park.

Dan Biggar was another Wales international who starred over the weekend, kicking nine points and dictating the play in Toulon’s 29-7 win over Bath Rugby.

And one of Wales’ exciting prospects for the future, Sam Costelow, kicked 15 points as Scarlets beat Cheetahs.

Wales Under-20 international Keiran Williams scored as Ospreys recorded their first win in Europe in two years, recording a stunning victory at the home of reigning Top 14 champions Montpellier.

Paolo Garbisi was on the losing side in that one but his international teammate Niccolò Cannone came out on top, scoring twice as Benetton beat Bayonne 45-7.

Scotland prospect Rufus McLean’s try helped Glasgow Warriors to a 26-18 win over Perpignan, while in the Heineken Champions Cup, experienced international Jamie Ritchie helped Edinburgh Rugby to a 31-20 win against Castres.