A number of France’s World Cup stars returned to European action to help Toulouse to a comeback win over Gloucester Rugby on the opening night of the Champions Cup.
Romain Ntamack – World Rugby’s breakthrough player of the year for 2019 – started the game at inside centre but shifted to No.10 in the second half as the Top 14 champions came roaring back.
Joe Simpson’s first-half double had looked like sending Gloucester to victory under the Friday night lights at Kingsholm.
But Ntamack, Yoann Huget – who came within a whisker of a second-half score of his own – and Maxime Medard helped lead a fightback.
Thomas Ramos kicked 14 points from the tee as well before Sebastien Bezy – who made his debut for Les Bleus back in the 2016 Championship – snuck over for the decisive score.
The victory was well-earned in the end for last season’s semi-finalists and a welcome boost for Fabien Galthie and his new-look French coaching staff as they begin preparations for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.
Toulouse dedicated their wing to France prop Dorian Aldegheri who came off the bench to make his 100th appearance for the club.
While they also got strong showings from French World Cup squad members Cyril Baille, Francois Cros and Peato Mauvaka.
Elsewhere, Scotland winger Damien Hoyland went over for Edinburgh as they emerged with an impressive bonus-point victory over Agen in the Challenge Cup.
Worcester Warriors also kicked off with a comfortable win in Russia, Brive downed compatriots Stade Francais and Toulon won at Bayonne.