Exeter became the first English club to lose in this season’s European Champions Cup as Wales star Dan Biggar led the Ospreys’ Liberty Stadium victory march last night.
Just seven weeks after condemning England to a costly World Cup defeat at Twickenham, Biggar kicked five penalties, a drop-goal and converted centre Josh Matavesi’s late interception try for a 20-point haul as Exeter were sunk 25-13.
Wing James Short claimed a well-worked touchdown for the Chiefs, while stand-off Gareth Steenson converted and booted two penalties, but they were unable to emulate Leicester, Saracens, Northampton and Wasps, who all claimed opening weekend Champions Cup victories.
The Ospreys could even afford for Biggar to uncharacteristically miss three penalty attempts, but he regained his composure at key moments to ensure his team enjoyed a winning start in Pool 2.
They also denied Exeter a losing bonus point, which could prove important when quarter-final places are decided in January.
It was the Chiefs’ first defeat against Welsh opposition in any competition since they attained Aviva Premiership status in 2010.
On Saturday, Toulouse were the only French side to play in Europe following the horrific events in Paris on Friday, and they could be forgiven for having their minds elsewhere when they went down 32-7 to Saracens at Allianz Park.
Last year’s runners-up were home and dry by half time, thanks to tries from Billy Vunipola and Chris Wyles.
Winger Wyles added another try in the second half and 17 points from the boot of England stand-off Owen Farrell sealed an emphatic victory in Pool 1. However, after being 32-0 ahead with 38 minutes of the second half to play, Saracens would have been disappointed not to pick up a bonus point, the only points in that period coming from a try by Toulouse replacement hooker Christoper Tolofua, converted by Sebastien Bezy.
Munster also won 32-7 but managed to grab a try bonus, albeit not until the last five minutes of their Pool 4 match against Treviso at Thomond Park.
Ireland international winger Simon Zebo secured the point, adding to tries from BJ Botha, CJ Stander and Duncan Casey. Braam Steyn touched down for the Italians.
Northampton Saints played 20 minutes of their match with 14 men against Scarlets after George North then Jamie Gibson were shown yellow cards but still managed to squeeze out a 15-11 win in Pool 3 at Franklin’s Gardens.
Scotland flanker John Barclay starred for the Scarlets, but tries from Ken Pisi and Alex Waller carried Saints over the line.
In the aftermath of the Paris murders, the games between Racing 92 and Glasgow Warriors and Oyonnax and Ulster on Saturday, and yesterday’s clashes between Bordeaux and Clermont Auvergne and Toulon and Bath were postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.