The EPCR Challenge Cup returned this weekend and Emirates Lions’ pulsating 31-31 draw with Dragons RFC was one of a series of enthralling Round 1 clashes.

There were four tries apiece in Johannesburg in an end-to-end encounter, the hosts’ Edwill van der Merwe announcing himself on the EPCR stage with a superb try brace and Dragons’ Sam Davies racking up 16 points.

Two recent winners of the competition picked up victories on Friday night, Stade Français Paris producing a second-half masterclass to beat Benetton Rugby 24-14 at Stade Jean-Bouin while three first-half scores saw Bristol Bears win 19-5 at USAP.

On Saturday, Toyota Cheetahs began their EPCR adventure with a 21-16 success over Section Paloise at Stade du Hameau, Ruan Pienaar slotting a vital late penalty for the South African side.

Glasgow Warriors and Bath Rugby played out a cracking contest at The Recreation Ground, the Scottish region snatching a 22-19 win through Duncan Weir’s penalty.

Cardiff Rugby made an early impression in this season’s competition as they blitzed CA Brive in a 41-0 drubbing, Kristian Dacey crossing twice early on at Cardiff Arms Park.

Connacht Rugby saw off a spirited Newcastle Falcons at The Sportsground, Diarmuid Kilgallen’s acrobatic effort capping the Irish province’s 22-8 win.

Zebre Parma almost claimed a famous win over heavyweights RC Toulon, but the four-time EPCR Challenge Cup finalists triumphed 24-21 at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi much thanks to Gael Drean’s try double.

Sunday’s encounter produced a further six tries as Scarlets cruised to a 39-7 win at home to Aviron Bayonnais, Sam Costelow providing 14 points from the tee for the Welsh region.