Four of the five Heineken Champions Cup Pool leaders will approach Round 3 in top form after winning their final domestic games before the resumption of Europe’s elite club competition this week.
Toulouse, Munster Rugby and Saracens all cruised to comfortable victories over Stade Français Paris (49-20), Edinburgh Rugby (44-14) and Wasps (29-6) respectively, while Newcastle Falcons scored a dramatic 16-14 success at Northampton Saints.
Newcastle, two points clear of Edinburgh at the head of Pool 5, secured their late Gallagher Premiership triumph at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday courtesy of an 86th minute try from in-form England back-row forward Mark Wilson and Toby Flood’s subsequent conversion.
The Falcons now travel to BT Murrayfield this Friday to take on Edinburgh, who were the victims of a stunning first-half performance from Munster last Friday at Irish Independent Park in their Guinness PRO14 match.
We spoke to Conor Murray after Friday night's Guinness PRO14 win over Edinburgh at a sold-out Irish Independent Park.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) December 2, 2018
Munster, who will be defending a two-point lead at the top of Pool 2 when they entertain Castres Olympique next Sunday at Thomond Park, opened up a 34-7 interval lead thanks to an eight-minute hat-trick of tries from Keith Earls and a four-minute brace from fellow wing Andrew Conway.
Centre Chris Farrell, making his first start of the season, also notched a try double for the Irish province – as did Edinburgh wing Duhan van der Merwe.
Pool 1 front runners Toulouse were only two behind Munster in the try count at Stade Ernest Wallon, crossing six times through Romain Ntamack (2), Yoann Huget, Julien Marchand, Francois Cros and Maxime Mermoz as they tuned up for their trip to Wasps next Saturday in style in the TOP 14.
They will find the English club seeking to shake off a Premiership battering at Allianz Park last Saturday, when centre Alex Lozowski was Saracens’ match-winner with 19 points from five penalties and the conversions of Jamie George’s and Nick Isiekwe’s tries.
The Pool 3 front runners will enter their home tie with Cardiff Blues next Sunday as the Premiership’s outright leaders and the only unbeaten team in the competition after their ninth victory from nine games.
Highlights from the weekend's win over Wasps will be published today. Don't miss them! ⚫️🔴
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) December 3, 2018
The sole Heineken Champions Cup Pool table-toppers not to taste victory at the weekend were Racing 92, of Pool 4, who lost 16-11 at La Rochelle in the TOP 14 on Saturday.