Newcastle Falcons marked their European Champions Cup return with a famous 26-25 win at Toulon and Saracens beat Glasgow Warriors despite injuries sustained by the Vunipola brothers.
Bottom of the Premiership with only one win this season, the Falcons were expected to be in for a tough Sunday afternoon in the Pool 5 encounter at Stade Mayol.
Dean Richards’ side rose to the occasion in the club’s first match in Europe’s premier club competition in 14 seasons, recovering from a nightmare start in the wind on the French Riviera.
Three-time European champions Toulon came into the game having lost three of their last four games, but Romain Taofifenua charged down a kick to score the opening try after only 21 minutes.
The Falcons rallied to lead 16-15 at half-time, Kyle Cooper going under the posts from a pick-and-go and Joel Hodgson scoring 11 points from the tee before Raphael Lakafia went over at the other end.
A penalty try increased Newcastle’s lead and Hodgson won it with a penalty 10 minutes from time after a converted Guilhem Guirado try and Francois Trinh-Duc’s penalty had edged Toulon in front.
An impressive start, who was the shining light?
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) October 14, 2018
Saracens maintained their 100 per cent record this season by grinding out a 13-3 Pool 3 victory at Scotstoun.
Michael Rhodes scored the only try as the Premiership champions came out on top in an almighty battle, England duo Mako Vunipola and Billy Vunipola withdrawn with calf and arm injuries respectively.
Gareth Anscombe scored a magnificent solo try and booted 15 points to ensure Cardiff Blues started their European campaign with an impressive 30-21 Pool 3 win at Lyon.
It proved to be a miserable day for Top 14 sides, Gloucester beating champions Castres 19-14 to go to the summit of Pool 2.
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