Louis Rees-Zammit scored two tries as Gloucester Rugby beat Sale Sharks 33-32 in a pulsating Gallagher Premiership encounter at Kingsholm Stadium.
The exciting winger, who will be looking to add to his tally of four tries in seven European matches for Gloucester in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season, was making his return to domestic rugby after spending the summer on tour with the British and Irish Lions.
Gloucester were in control at half-time thanks to Rees-Zammit’s first try and additional scores from Ben Morgan and Jack Singleton.
Rees-Zammit went over for a second time on 63 minutes for what proved to be a decisive score, as Sale crossed three times in the closing stages, only missing out on a dramatic win after a last-gasp conversion went wide.
Meanwhile, Saracens beat EPCR Challenge Cup rivals Newcastle Falcons 37-23 in another entertaining Gallagher Premiership match-up.
Falcons built an early lead thanks to sores from debutant Mike Brown and Ben Stevenson, but a penalty try and second half efforts from Jamie George, Mako Vunipola and Billy Vunipola sealed Saracens’ win.
London Irish proved tough opposition for league leaders Leicester Tigers, with Paddy Jackson notching 11 points and Agustin Creevy crossing to see the EPCR Challenge Cup side lead 16-12 heading into the final 20 minutes.
Leicester would however claim a 21-16 win following three unanswered penalties over the remainder of the game.
Elsewhere, Justin Clegg went over for a late consolation score as Worcester Warriors suffered a 42-5 defeat at the hands of Exeter Chiefs.
👊 @mikebrown_15 just loves scoring against Sarries!
Instant impact as he flew over on his @FalconsRugby debut yesterday 🦅
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ERChallengeCup) October 10, 2021
In the United Rugby Championship, EPCR Challenge Cup side Dragons overcame Heineken Champions Cup opponents Connacht Rugby 35-22 for their first league win of the season.
Jonah Holmes scored a brace of tries for Dragons, while Jordan Williams and Mesake Doge also crossed, in addition to 15 points from the boot of Sam Davies.
Edinburgh Rugby drew 20-20 with Stormers, as Darcy Graham and Ben Vellacott both went over and Jaco van der Walt kicked 10 points.
Cardiff Rugby were beaten 29-19 by Bulls, with Matthew Screech crossing for a first half try and Rhys Priestland tallying 14 points.
Zebre Rugby were comfortably beaten 43-7 by Leinster Rugby, with Pierre Bruno dotting down for the Italian side’s solitary try on 66 minutes.
In the TOP 14, Baptiste Couilloud grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Lyon dispatched of fellow EPCR Challenge Cup side Biarritz Olympique 40-5.
Patrick Sobela, Leo Berdeu and Thibaut Regard also crossed for Lyon, while Clement Renaud went over for Biarritz’s consolation score.
RC Toulon came out on top of another clash of ECPR Challenge Cup contenders, edging out CA Brive for a 13-9 win.
Anthony Belleau was the sole provider of Toulon’s points, scoring and converting a try as well as kicking two penalties. Enzo Herve slotted two penalties for Brive, while Thomas Laranjeira kicked one.
Tries from Matteo Rodor and Lucas Velarte proved too little too late for USAP as they fell to a 17-14 defeat at Racing 92, while Section Paloise’s Thibault Debaes notched all his side’s points in a 38-10 loss to Stade Toulousain.