Lund saw yellow for a no-arms, late tackle on opposite number Juan Martin Fernandez-Lobbe and no sooner had he departed than Leigh Halfpenny stuck the first points with a penalty. Three minutes later back row man Charles Ollivon blasted through the short-handed home defence for the opening try.
Halfpenny had no problem with the conversion and then the Wales and British & Irish Lions full back ran in a second try. This time it was a cross-kick from Francois Trinh-Duc that set-up the try as Byron McGuighan found himself faced with three Toulon players.
Halfpenny couldn’t add the touchline conversion from the left, and went on to miss a 44 metre penalty in the second half, but the three-time champions had got off to the kind of start new head coach Mike Ford had asked for following the poor opening in the Round 1 defeat at home against Saracens.
But Toulon weren’t able to build on their fast start and instead it was the courageous hoe side that came rushing back into the contest. No sooner had Toulon skipper Duane Vermeulen been sent to the sin-bin for a cynical trip in open play than wing Paulo Odogwu ran in his first Champions Cup try to cut the gap to 10 points.
That’s how it stayed up to the break and throughout the whole of the second half. As well as Halfpenny’s long range miss, Will Addison was also off target for Sale with a kickable penalty.
The win for Toulon keeps them in the ix in Pool 3 with back-to-back games against the Scarlets to come in December. Two successive defeats for Sale will make it difficult for them to progress, especially with successive games against reigning champions Saracens to come.
Sale scrum half Peter Stringer made his 101st appearance in the European Cup at the end of a day in which he had attended the funeral of his former Munster and Ireland team mate Anthony Foley. There was a minute’s silence in memory of Foley before the kick-off.
It was emotional from start to finish and the occasion seemed to get the better of Keith Earls, who was issued with a straight red card by French referee Jerome Graces in the 18th minute for a tip tackle on Glasgow hooker Fraser Brown. On any normal occasion that might have been critical, but not on this day.
By then Munster were already two tries ahead thanks to a third minute try by man of the match Tyler Bleyendaal and a second from Springbok centre Jaco Taute. Bleyendaal converted both and the only return Glasgow could muster was a Finn Russell penalty.
With many of the Munster greats of the past, like team mates of Foley such as Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara, watching on from the stands, the team worked harder than every before and coped admirably without Earls. At times it even seemed as though they had extra men on the field such was the passion and fervour with which they played.
Bleyendaal kept the scoreboard moving with a penalty and then Simon Zebo wriggled his ay over in the left corner just before the break for a try which the outside half again improved off the touchline to give Munster a 24-3 interval lead.
Now it wasn’t merely the win that Munster were chasing, but a bonus-point to kick-off their Pool 1 campaign following the postponement of the Round 1 fixture against Racing 92 in Paris. The fans didn’t have to wait long for the fourth try.
The power of the Munster scrum came to the fore and after a succession of collapses on their own line the Glasgow eight were punished with a penalty try. Bleyendaal added the extras and it was shaping into the perfect farewell for the man that one banner in the crowd proclaimed was the ‘Lost King of Thomond’.
Gregor Townsend’s Warriors rallied as the home side naturally tired and there were tries from Pat MacArthur and Mark Bennett, both of which Stuart Hogg converted, but nobody was going to deny Munster the final word. A fifth try from centre Rory Scannell added the final seal of approval and Ian Keatley popped over the conversion.
It was a vintage performance from Munster and a day that nobody who was among the 25,600 crowd will ever forget. The day ended with the Munster players taking Foley’s two sons, Tony and Dan, into the team circle on the pitch to join in a stirring rendition of ‘Stand Up and Fight’.
The crowd joined in and the deafening roar that had accompanied the action from start to finish was heard one final time. It was a magnificent end to a magnificent Munster rugby occasion.
These Anglo-French rivals know each other well having met in the European Rugby Champions Cup pool stages in three successive seasons from 2011.
And Castres made sure they responded to defeat at Leinster last week by maintain home success in this fixture with five tries as David Smith (twice), Antoine Tichit, Alexandre Bias and Antoine Dupont all crossed to inflict a record defeat on Saints. Their 34 point winning margin overtook the 33 Northampton had lost by against Montferrand (2001/02) and Leinster (2013/14).
It was a painful return back to earth for Saints, despite the return of England captain Dylan Hartley, following their last-gasp win over Montpellier last week as a late James Wilson try was all they could muster.
Castres’ pack issued an early statement of intent with a powerful scrum and Benjamin Urdapilleta, stepped on the line by a wonderful George North tackle, swept over two kicks.
Louis Picamoles was denied a try on 19 minutes and Castres lock key-man Rory Kockett to a yellow card soon after. But Saints could not capitalise and No8 Alex Tolou was the inspiration as the hosts burst clear to lead 20-0 at half-time.
Toulou made a series of bursts before setting up winger Smith for his first on 30 minutes. Kockett returned from the sin bin and his burst up field, halted by Ben Foden, ended with prop Tichit crashing over.
Jim Mallinder’s half-time team talk failed to halt the hosts as Robert Ebersohn’s clever run drew in defenders and opened space for Smith to grab his second and Urdapilleta’s conversion opened a 27-0 lead just three minutes into the second half.
Saints steadied the ship and finally registered on the scoreboard seven minutes from time through Wilson after Rory Hutchinson and Paul Hill combined.
But Castres were desperate for the bonus and struck twice in the final six minutes as Smith turned provider for Bias before replacement scrum-half Dupont raced clear.
Jean-Marcel Buttin and Jayden Spence had given the visitors a positive start before the TOP14 leaders flexed their muscles. Noa Nakaitaci scored on the stroke of half-time to give the hosts the lead before Alexander Lapandry and Wesley Fofana scored and Vahaamahina bagged the bonus-point.
But Bordeaux fought-back to claim a bonus of their own as Buttin got his second before setting up Met Talebula, and Gauthier Doubrère scored a late consolation. Clermont remain top of Pool 5 with 10 points after round two.
The Stade Marcel Michelin was stunned into silence when Bordeaux took the lead after just four minutes. A free-flowing attack had the Clermont defence scrambling, and they cracked when the ball was worked wide to Buttin, who side-stepped past Morgan Parra to score from 20 metres out.
Ian Madigan landed the conversion before Parra kicked a penalty of his own three minutes later to cut the gap to 7-3. And Parra, who had only missed two kicks all season before this match, chipped away at the Bordeaux lead with another penalty after the visitors went off their feet at a ruck.
But Clermont’s comeback was halted by some more clinical play from the Begles’ backline.
Madigan received the ball and found Spence with a perfectly timed short-ball. The kiwi centre sliced through and crashed over to give Madigan a simple conversion.
Parra landed a penalty to bring Clermont back to within five points, before Bordeaux wing Kobus Van Wyk was sin-binned for a tip-tackle on the home scrum-half. And they were made to pay for their indiscipline when David Strettle’s deflected hack forward found its way to Nakaitaci, who picked up and dived over for his eighth try of the season.
Parra maintained his 100 percent record from the tee in the Champions Cup to add the conversion and send his men into the changing rooms at half-time with a 16-14 lead. And the TOP14 leaders took a firm grip on the game two minutes into the second-half.
A half-break from Camille Lopez moved Clermont to within five metres of the try-line, before Nakataici’s loose offload was collected by Lapandy, who stretch over to make it 21-14. And Fofana got in on the act when he fended off a pair of defenders to break on the outside to score the hosts’ third try.
Vahaamahina was shunted over for the bonus-point score, before a late flurry of tries. Buttin grabbed his second and setup a bonus-point try of their own for Talebulama after Strettle collected his own kick to score.
Mako Vunipola got the champions on track before Nick Tompkins, an 11th hour replacement for Brad Barritt, Marcelo Bosch, Chris Wyles secured the bonus point.
Rhys Patchell kicked 16 points for Scarlets who briefly hinted at a comeback after Ben Spencer’s yellow card with second half tries by Aaron Shingler and Jonathan Davies.
But Michael Rhodes completed a dominant display from the Saracens pack to take charge of Pool 3.
Patchell drew first blood at Allianz Park with an early penalty but Mako Vunipola rumbled over for the opening try in the tenth minute.
Schalk Burger was involved several times as Saracens’ forwards drove forward, Alex Goode and Michael Rhodes put width on the attack where Vunipola charged a way through.
Scarlets, who lost Wales centre Scott Williams in the morning of the game with an ankle problem, then saw full-back Liam Williams limp off after just 14 minutes.
Saracens had also lost a centre before kick-off when Brad Barritt pulled out after the warm-up so Nick Tompkins stepped up and scorched over for a try just 26 minutes into his European debut. The centre beat four defenders as he weaved his way between the posts.
Farrell converted and added a drop goal but penalties allowed Patchell to limit the damage to 20-12 at half-time.
Both Vunipola brothers punched holes in the Welsh team’s defence, before England fly-half Owen Farrell flung a loopy pass for Bosch to finish on the left wing.
Wyles put the bonus point within touching distance, finishing from 30 metres with aplomb after a Scarlets handling error.
Shingler scored the visitors’ first try of the night just past the hour mark as both sides pursued the extra points.
Replacement eight Josh Macleod thundered off the base of the scrum to set up a second try for Scarlets, with Wales centre Davies powering over from close range.
But South African flanker Michael Rhodes swiftly struck back to secure the bonus point and extinguish any hopes the two tries had fanned of a Scarlets come back.
The giant winger rumbled over for a first-half try before capitalising on an interception after Vincent Martin had gone over after half-an-hour. But Leinster grabbed a crucial losing bonus-point in the last play of the game when Isa Nacewa darted over and converted his own try.
The point keeps Leinster top of Pool 4 on six points, but only two points separates them and bottom side Northampton Saints after two rounds.
Montpellier had most of the possession and territory in the first quarter but failed to turn pressure into points. Instead it was the Irish province who finally broke the deadlock after 26 minutes. Leinster rumbled a rolling maul into Montpellier territory before it was brought down illegally. Surprisingly, Isa Nacewa took the kick instead of Sexton, and made no mistake to make it 3-0.
But Montpellier hit-back four minutes later. Vincent Martin scooped up a loose ball 30 metres from the try-line and scorched past Jamie Heaslip and Mike Ross to score at the posts. Frans Steyn atoned for an early penalty miss to slot the conversion to put the hosts 7-3 in-front.
And it got even better for Jake White’s men just before the break. Full-back Joffrey Michel drew his man to give Nadolo a one-on-one against Rob Kearney, and the Fijian giant ran over the Ireland full-back to score at the corner. Steyn landed the touchline conversion to make it 14-3 at half-time.
Steyn extended their advantage with a penalty, but Nacewa clawed three points back from the tee. But star of the show Nadolo bagged his second try of the game and Montpellier’s third to put them beyond Leinster’s reach. Leo Cullen’s men had held firm to stop a driving maul and earn a turnover. But when Heaslip peeled off the back of the scrum and attempted a pass to Zane Kirchner, Nadolo was there to intercept and run-in unopposed.
Nacewa landed a third penalty to make it 22-9, and he was at it again when Jamison Gibson-Park found his skipper racing down the left wing to score. And he showed nerves of steel to land the crucial conversion to seal a losing bonus-point.
Gopperth kicked 10 points in all with Hughes and wing Josh Bassett getting over the whitewash to deny their French hosts a valuable win following their round 1 loss at Connacht.
Toulouse twice held a lead of seven points but tries from replacement Census Johnston and centre Gael Fickou, plus 10 points from Sebastien Bezy could not give them the spoils.
Gopperth, playing in the unfamiliar position of full-back, gave the home side an early lead but Bezy soon levelled matters as the home side made the better start.
The scrum-half then gave them the lead after Maxime Medard’s adventure from deep had sparked a flowing attack which ended deep in Wasps territory.
However, the French side failed to claim the restart and infringed to allow Gopperth the simple chance to bring the sides level again.
Wasps were having to put plenty of defensive work in and had to survive a siege on their line on the stroke of
half-time after Christian Wade had given up a five-metre scrum by misjudging Toby Flood’s kick for touch.
Time and again the scrum was set and reset by referee George Clancy, but the English side lifted the pressure when Danny Cipriani held Carl Axtens up over the line.
However, they undid their good work by conceding a soft try 10 minutes into the second half. Wade’s decision to take a quick line-out deep in his own 22 as Wasps failed to clear their lines.
It ended with Thierry Dusautoir charging down Cipriani’s kick and Johnston picking up to rumble over.
Bezy converted but the game was beginning to loosen up and Wasps looked the happier with that development and put together their best passage of play in the game only for Gopperth’s final pass not to go to hand.
They did not have to wait long for a try however, with Gopperth sending Bassett racing over and adding the extras to level.
Back came Toulouse and they reclaimed the lead when Fickou feinted this way and that to cut through the spread Wasps defence and crash over.
Bezy converted for a seven-point Toulouse lead, but Wasps would not wilt and they got their reward as Hughes slipped through Paul Perez to score, with Gopperth nailing the crucial conversion.
Wing Ili crossed three times in an eventful clash at Stadio Lanfranchi that also saw two yellow cards and a red, in the first half, for Zebre hooker Oliviero Fabiani.
Connacht full-back Cian Kelleher also crossed twice in the second half as the Guinness Pro12 champions smashed their previous record score – also against Zebre – in this tournament.
It was a world away from Connacht’s visit to Parma last month when they trailed the home side at half-time when a torrential downpour saw the game abandoned. This time Pat Lam’s side made their intentions clear from the opening exchanges though were helped by Italian mistakes.
Zebre saw centre Tommaso Boni withdraw before kick-off and it was a mistake in midfield under their own posts that put Connacht on the front foot. Craig Ronaldson thought he was over but the video official ruled a double movement.
Pressure told in the tenth minute when Ili raced onto Jack Carty’s kick to touch down in the corner and Ronaldson converted. Carty then scored himself but it was courtesy of Peter Robb’s bone-crunching tackle on Carlo Canna that dislodged the ball and the fly-half galloped in from the half-way line.
Sean O’Brien was binned for knocking the ball out of Marcello Violi’s hands on 29 minutes but worse was to come for Zebre just seconds later when hooker Fabiani was dismissed by French referee Mathieu Raynal for biting Connacht lock Quinn Roux.
Ili grabbed his second try just a minute into the second half and Zebre were down to 13 men when centre Tommy Castello was ruled to have deliberately infringed at a ruck.
Ili saw a third try ruled out for a forward pass but Connacht still made their advantage count with three tries in a remarkable six-minute blitz. The forwards applied enough pressure to earn a penalty try, Kelleher skipped over for this first and prop Conor Carey touched down between 51 and 55 minutes.
Zebre at least avoided a whitewash when Tommason D’Apice dived over from a yard out only for Kelleher and Ili to complete the rout.
A week on from their record beating by Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun, the Tigers turned in the kind of response that director of rugby Richard Cockerill was looking for against the French champions with second half replacement Freddie Burns contributing 16 points.
Burns picked up an injury in last season’s semi-final at Nottingham, but he returned to face Dan Carter once again and came out on top with a 70 metre interception try and 11 points from the boot. Those points came on top of a try after 2 min, 52 sec by Brendon O’Connor and two penalties from Owen Williams for the home side in the first half.
O’Connor’s try in the right corner gave the Tigers a flying start and the power of their scrum caused problems for Racing all night. The only other points of the opening 40 minutes came from a Dan Carter penalty and those two strikes from Williams.
Carter then bemused the hoe defence with a weaving, dummying run from just outside the Tigers 22 to cross for a wonder try at the posts that he also converted to cut the gap to a single point. Then it seemed as though it was anyone’s game.
But Burns came into the contest and made an immediate impact. He kicked two penalties in quick succession and then read a Racing move off the back of a scrum on the home 22 to intercept a pass from Maxime Machenaud intended for his midfield and raced 70 metres to score a try he also converted.
Carter was thwarted by a great tackle by Matthew Tait to deny him a second try. The referee went upstairs to the TMO, but the great Al Black was deemed to have put the ball down a blade of grass short of the whitewash.
Racing flexed their muscles again to create an overlap try for Imhoff five minutes from time and Carter’s touchline conversion brought his side into losing bonus-point territory. But then Burns took it all away fro them with his third penalty to take his match tally to 16 points.