Grenoble and Perpignan both suffered defeats on their return to the Top 14 as Clermont Auvergne and Racing 92 flexed their muscles in the opening round of the 2018-19 season.
Back in the top flight after a four-year absence, 2009 champions Perpignan were beaten 46-15 at home by Stade Francais.
Sekou Macalou crossed twice as the visitors eased into a 29-3 half-time lead, albeit they suffered a blow before the break when Sergio Parisse was controversially shown a red card for leading with the elbow.
Fly-half Paddy Jackson scored a try on debut as Perpignan cut the gap, but Stade ended any hopes of a comeback by scoring the final 17 points of the contest.
There was also disappointment for the other promoted side too, La Rochelle spoiling the big occasion for Grenoble with a 28-21 triumph on the road thanks to a late score from Jean-Charles Orioli.
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) August 25, 2018
Thomas Ramos kicked a late drop goal to secure Lyon a 16-16 draw at home to Toulouse, while Romain Lonca and Nans Ducuing grabbed two tries apiece, and Baptiste Serin kicked 21 points, as Bordeaux Begles ran out 41-19 winners against Pau.
After a disappointing campaign last time out that saw them finish ninth, Clermont began the new season in impressive fashion, running in 10 tries to thump Agen 67-23 at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin.
The hosts trailed 16-15 at the halfway stage but cut loose after the interval, touching down four times in the closing 15 minutes as they piled on the points.
In Saturday’s late game, Racing produced a strong second-half performance to record an impressive 25-6 victory away at Toulon.
The home team led 6-3 at the break at Stade Mayol only for Finn Russell to inspire Racing’s fightback, the Scottish fly-half touching down for two tries as he finished with a personal haul of 20 points.
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