Julian Savea moves to midfield for Toulon's big European Champions Cup win

Julian Savea played in midfield for Toulon's big European Champions Cup win over a French rival (file photo).
David RogersJulian Savea played in midfield for Toulon’s big European Champions Cup win over a French rival (file photo).

Savea lined up at second five-eighths in an all-Kiwi midfield with ex-All Blacks teammate Malakai Fekitoa as Toulon celebrated a 38-28 home win on Saturday (Sunday NZ time).

Toulon – with former All Black Liam Messam at No 8 – ran in four tries, a figure matched by Montpellier.

But French international Anthony Belleau booted four penalties for Toulon, who made Montpellier pay for ill-discipline.

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Southland Stags pivot James Wilson had a mixed day in Europe for English club Bath (file photo).
Robyn EdieSouthland Stags pivot James Wilson had a mixed day in Europe for English club Bath (file photo).

Todd Blackadder’s Bath rugby team lost a nail bitter to European Champions Cup Leinster after Irish test wing Jordan Larmour intercepted a pass by Bath’s Southland import James Wilson.

Leinster – European and Pro14 champions last season – beat Bath 17-10 at Bath’s Recreation Ground.

Wilson – signed as short-term injury cover for his second stint at Bath -started at first five-eighth. The 35-year-old kicked a conversion and a penalty.

But Larmour snaffled an attempted long by Wilson and ran almost 50m to score the most crucial try of the contest.

Willi Heinz (L), pictured after scoring for Gloucester in 2017, grabbed a try in a European Champions Cup win over the Exeter Chiefs.
David RogersWilli Heinz (L), pictured after scoring for Gloucester in 2017, grabbed a try in a European Champions Cup win over the Exeter Chiefs.

Former Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz scored a try as he captained Gloucester to a 27-19 win over the Exeter Chiefs.

Gloucester inflicted Exeter’s first home defeat in three seasons to top their pool after an outstanding display by young wing Ollie Thorley, who offloaded for Heinz to get the visitors’ first try and showed searing pace throughout.

New Zealand coach Dave Rennie watched his Glasgow Warriors side secure the lead in Pool Three with a 42-22 win over Lyon. Adam Ashe got a double for Glasgow, who were captained by Kiwi flanker Callum Gibbins.

Glasgow’s Scottish rivals, Edinburgh, also head their section after taming the Newcastle Falcons, 31-13.

Lima Sopoaga kicked a penalty and a conversion as Wasps lost at home, 24-16, to French club Toulouse, who had Louis-Benoit Madaule banished for stamping on Brad Shields.

Ulster achieved a memorable one-point win over Welsh club Scarlets at Llanelli.

Former Wallabies wing Herny Speight and Jacob Stockdale – who scored a try in Ireland’s victory over the All Blacks – were among Ulster’s scorers as the Northern Ireland province secured a bonus point.

Ulster’s New Zealand-born defence coach Jared Payne told BBC Radio Ulster: “We were very clinical in the 22, which was great to see. It’s not season-defining or anything like that, all it does is tick another box for us and it sets us up for the next week.”

Scarlets’ Kiwi head coach Wayne Pivac said the defeat was “down to our own inaccuracy and in the first half it was probably defence; we fell off three tackles and they score from 60 metres, which was pretty soft.

“We did well to come back at the end there, but again we made a few line breaks and inaccuracy of the pass or catch sort of robbed us. We only have ourselves to blame,” Pivac told BBC Wales.

“This is a low point… but it’s not over, there are three games to go and we’ve got to keep building on our performances.”

Meanwhile, Chris Boyd’s Northampton Saints ran in eight tries to thrash Wales’ Dragons 48-14 in the European Challenge Cup second tier competition. Midfielder Luther Burrell and lock Api Ratuniyarawa both got doubles for the Saints.

Former All Blacks fullback Kieran Crowley coached Benetton Treviso to a 26-21 win over English premiership club Harlequins.

Ex-All Black pivot Colin Slade dotted down two tries and kicked two conversions as Pau beat Worcester, 21-6.

New Zealand-born Irish test midfielder Bundee Aki scored in Connacht’s 22-10 over French Top 14 battlers Perpignan.

Victor Vito and Tawera Kerr-Barlow led French club La Rochelle to a 35-22 win over Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears.

 

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