Exeter impress to win opener

  • Last Updated: October 13 2013, 22:45 BST

A review of the weekend's action in the Heineken Cup.

  • Exeter celebrate during their win over Cardiff
  • Gloucester are all smiles after beating Perpignan. 
  • Scarlets enjoy victory over Harlequins. 

Exeter Chiefs ran riot in the first half against Cardiff Blues at Sandy Park en route to a 44-29 victory in their Heineken Cup opener.

Five first-half tries - including three in a five-minute spell from Dean Mumm, Matt Jess and Fetu'u Vainikolo - earned the Chiefs a comprehensive 36-3 interval lead.

The Blues mounted a second-half comeback, securing a try-scoring bonus point for their efforts, but had left their charge too late as Exeter claimed victory.

The Chiefs had to play with just 13 players in the final quarter after having two players in quick succession sent to the sin bin by French referee Jerome Garace, but conceded only 12 points during their absence.

Tom Johnson, Ben White and Whitten also crossed for Exeter, while Cardiff's tries came via Lloyd Williams, Robin Copeland, Alex Cuthbert and Harry Robinson.

In the other Pool Two match, Toulon showed they are in no mood to surrender their title as they scored six tries in the 51-28 win against the previously unbeaten RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Glasgow Warriors at Stade Felix Mayol.

Opening their defence of the title they won for the first time in Dublin in May, the French side had bagged a bonus point within 32 minutes and looked an even more complete team than they were last season.

However, with the game seemingly won by half-time the champions then had to weather a spirited fightback from Glasgow, who ran in four tries of their own in 22 minutes to ensure they headed home with a bonus point.

Delon Armitage, Maxime Mermoz (2), Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Matt Giteau (2) scored the tries for Toulon, with DTH van der Merwe, Nikola Matawalu and Jonny Gray going over for Glasgow.

Racing Metro claimed a 13-9 victory despite being forced on to the back foot for much of their Pool Four clash with French rivals Clermont Auvergne.

All the points in the first half came through penalties, but Marc Andreu scored the game's only try shortly after half-time to set up victory.

The result was harsh on Clermont winger Sitiveni Sivivatu, whoe was almost unplayable as his side dominated the territorial battle but could not put points on the board.

On Saturday, Wing Jonny May's late try gave Gloucester a dramatic 27-22 victory in Pool Six as Perpignan had their former Munster centre Lifeimi Mafi sent off for a tip-tackle.

May struck five minutes from time during an intense encounter, while scrum-half Jimmy Cowan also scored and his half-back partner Billy Twelvetrees kicked 17 points.

It was rough justice on Perpignan's Wales international full-back James Hook, who scored an early try, converted it, kicked a drop-goal and booted four penalties, but Perpignan are left still seeking a first Heineken victory on English soil.

Also in Pool Six, Tim Visser grabbed a late try for Edinbugh as they registered their first Heineken Cup win in 18 months with a surprise 29-23 victory over Munster.

The capital club lost all six of their pool games last season but opened up this year's campaign with their first success since beating Toulouse in the quarter-finals of the 2011-12 competition.

Matt Scott had given the home side the lead just six minutes in but tries from Casey Laulala and Mike Sherry handed the advantage to Munster.

Greg Laidlaw was his ever reliable self with the boot and four penalties before the break had Edinburgh ahead again, only for opposition kicker Ian Keatley to strike twice himself after the interval as the Irishmen edged themselves ahead.

But with 10 minutes left and Munster growing increasingly confident, Visser sprinted down the left-hand wing to to grab the try which set up a unlikely victory, sealed with another two successful kicks from captain Laidlaw.

Harlequins' season continued to deteriorate with their 33-26 defeat against the Scarlets getting them off to a losing start in Pool Four, despite the best efforts of Mike Brown.

Rhodri Williams, Scott Williams and Jordan Williams supplied the tries and Rhys Priestland scored 18 points as the visitors completed a thrilling Pool Four victory at the Twickenham Stoop.

Quins were second best throughout and had it not be for the the brilliance of Brown, who crossed twice and was their heartbeat from start to finish, they would have lost more emphatically.

Leinster got their quest for a fourth Heineken Cup crown off to a winning start as Sean O'Brien's try helped them beat the Ospreys 19-9 in Pool One at the Liberty Stadium.

The British and Irish Lions flanker's try capped an excellent personal display, with fly-half Jimmy Gopperth booting the rest of Leinster's points with four penalties.

The Ospreys responded with three penalties from Wales fly-half Dan Biggar, but the hosts lacked the accuracy in attack and edge at the breakdown to overcome a side who have won European silverware in each of the last three seasons.

In Pool One's other match, Dylan Hartley scored a try but Northampton slumped to a 19-13 defeat in the opening match of their campaign at Castres.

Hartley pounced for his team's only try as Saints lacked the firepower to overcome the defending French Top 14 champions.

Steven Myler kicked the conversion and two penalties to at least ensure Saints left Stade Pierre Antoine with a losing bonus point from the game.

Romain Martial scored Castres' only try of the match with Rory Kockott kicking the other points for the hosts.

Jonathan Pelissie came off the bench to propel Montpellier to a 27-10 win against Benetton Treviso in Pool Five.

Quarter-finalists in the competition last season, French outfit Montpellier were already in charge at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo by the time Pelissie was introduced in the 55th minute.

He took over from scrum-half Benoit Paillaugue, who had booted 12 points, and added a penalty before crossing for a 67th-minute try - validated by the video referee - that he added the extras to.

Thomas Combezou scored Montpellier's other try and Christian Loamanu went over for the hosts.

On Friday night, Ulster kicked off their bid to make the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup for the fourth straight year by posting a 22-16 home win over Leicester .

Five penalties and a conversion from the in-form Paddy Jackson, alongside a first-half try from Tommy Bowe - a score which was also created by Jackson - sent Mark Anscombe's men on their way to victory, although they were unable to deny the visitors a losing bonus point.

The Tigers - who have now lost all three times they have played European rugby at Ravenhill - scored a first-half try through Logovii Mulipola, while Toby Flood nailed two penalties and a conversion before replacement Owen Williams kicked a late penalty to earn Leicester their first ever point from Heineken Cup rugby in Belfast.

However, the visitors' cause was badly damaged by the 58th-minute sin-binning of Jordan Crane, with Ulster kicking three penalties while the number eight was off the pitch.

Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens were made to fight tooth and nail for a 23-17 opening win, needing a late Owen Farrell penalty to edge past a hugely determined Connacht side.

A brace of penalties from Farrell were the only scores of a defence-dominated second half at the Sportsground, as 8/1 outsiders Connacht - inspired by man of the match Kieran Marmion - stayed in the hunt for a shock victory.

They almost got it right at the death as bodies piled in close to the Sarries line, but replacements Aly Muldowney and Paul O'Donohoe were held up short and the relieved visitors got out of Galway with the points.

Toulouse got their campaign off to the perfect start, defeating Zebre 38-5 with a try bonus-point at Stade Ernest Wallon.

The French outfit had failed to get past the group stage in last year's competition, but they showed a ruthlessness in a powerhouse first-half showing that suggests they will be a force to be reckoned with this time around.

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