The first round of matches in the Champions Cup dished up some surprises on Saturday. Toulouse, Leicester Tigers, Leinster and Ulster register their first wins of the new season.
Toulouse began their defence of the title they won last season with an emphatic win over Cardiff on Saturday 39-7. It was an inexperience Cardiff side that did show some stubborn defence in teh opening stages of the match but conceded two early penalties early on which Ntamack kicked over.
Ntamack kicked 14 points in the game at the end with tries from Jelonch, Ahki, Dupont, Bonneval and Tekori for the visitors and the only points for the hone side came from a try by Adams which Tovey converted.
It was that man Antoine Dupont that sparked the first try for the visitors with a break which led to Jelonch try just before halftime.
The world rugby player of the year showed why he was so highy rated as he was the catalyst again as he broke again to send Ahki over this time around. That left Cardiff 13 points behind at the start of the second half.
Although Cardiff was brave they eventually could not keep up with the champions which led to Dupont getting over for his first try of the new season. It was Dupont again that kicked. crosskick for Bonneval to score for Toulouse.
Tekori went over one last time for the champions who took a well deserved bonus point win to open their defence of their title.
Next week Cardiff will take on Harlequins and Toulouse will be at home against Wasps.
Cardiff: Tries – Adams Conversions – Tovey
Toulouse: Tries – Jelonch, Ahki. Dupont, Bonneval, Tekori Conversions – Ntamack (4) Penalties – Ntamack 2
It was two second half penalty kicks by George Ford that sealed the win for teh Tigers on Saturday against Bordeaux in their opening round. It was an important away win for the Tigers but they had to work hard for it.
Both sides exchange early penalties to get the scoreboard ticking over but it was Guy Porter that that scored the opneing try for teh Tigers.
The home side leveled things up just before the end of the first half when Jean-Baptiste Dubie got over for his side first try of the match.
It was the home side that took the lead after the break with the boot of Lucu but Ford boot ws the difference at the end giving Leicester the win
Leicester will host Connacht in round two next weekend while Bordeaux will make their way to Wales to take on Scarlets.
Bordeaux: Tries – Dubie Conversions – Lucu Penalties – Lucu (2)
Leicester Tigers: Tries – Porter Conversions – Ford Penalties – Ford (3)
Ulster got an important away win on Saturday when they beat Clermont 29-23 in a match that had everything. The visitors was full value for their win and at the end it was Clermont discipline that cost them the game with Cooney kicking four penalties in the match.
Ulster had a great start to the match and led 16-10 at the break as they scored two tries through McCloskey and Timoney with Clermont tries came both form Penaud.
The host fought back in the second half but Ulster kept their nerves to pull thorugh the win at the end.
It was a strange old game with Ulster scoring a try from what was first judges a knock on but after the TMO reviewed the incident, Tiberghien was send off with a yellow card and becuase the referee only blew his whistle after the try was scored, the try was awarded which gave Ulster the lead in the match again with minutes to go.
A long range penlaty really sealed the game for Ulster which left Clermont only picking up a loosing bonus point.
Ulster played positive rugby to start the game which resulted in Clermont giving away penalties and after 15 minutes Cooney had kicked them to a 9 point lead.
The first try also came from the visitors when Cooney fed McCloskey to get over. At this stage Clermont just could not get into the game and just made too many mistakes and gave away too many penalties to make any inpact in the game.
It was eventually Penaud with his magic that gave the home side their first try after the 30 minute mark. The home side still struggled and they found themselves with one man down after Jaco van Tonder was send off with a yellow card for s tip tackle.
Clermont was right back into the game when Penaud got over for his second try of the match. A penalty staright after saw Clermont take the lead and they were taking control of the match.
Ulster however came back at them with Timoney going over and the home side loosing a man to the bin. Ulster sealed the game wit a long range penalty which left Clermont with just too much to do and not enough time. They did however got one last penalty to go away with a loosing bonus point.
Ulster will host the Saints in round 2 with Clermont traveling to Sale next week.
Clermont: Tries – Penaud (2) Conversions – Hanrahan (2) Penalties – Hanrahan
Ulster: Tries – McCloskey, Timoney Conversions – Cooney (2) Penalties – Cooney (4)
A hat-trick of tries from Jonny Gray helped Exeter to an impressive win over Montpellier. They scored six tries with Montpellier only managed two penalties.
The visitors got first on the board with two penalties but Exeter got on the board whne Hogg got over in the 23rd minute of the game to give the home side a 7-6 lead at the break.
After the restart Exeter was the only team on the field really with Gray powering over the line three times with some of the best forward play we have seen from the 2020 champions tghis year.
The home side got Simmonds and Armand over late in the game to register a brilliant bonus point win in their opening match of the competition.
Montpellier did go into the game without some key players due to injuries and international rest rules but it was not good day in the office for them at all.
Exeter will face Glasgow in round two next week while Montpellier will take on Leinster.
Exeter: Tries – Hogg, Gray (3), S Simmonds, Armand Conversions – J Simmonds (6)
Montpellier: Penalties – Foursans (2)