On a mixed weekend for the Irish provinces in European action, it was Leinster again who stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Most would have expected a tight contest between Leinster and Racing 92, but Leo Cullen’s side eased to victory in France to get their Heineken Champions Cup campaign off to a perfect start.
Ulster, on the other hand, got off to the worst possible start as they suffered an embarrassing 39-0 defeat to Sale Sharks due to a dismal display in the north of England.
Munster fought hard against Toulouse at Thomond Park, although the five-time European champions ultimately claimed a narrow victory in foggy conditions in Limerick.
Connacht aren’t involved in the Champions Cup this year, although they ran out as comfortable winners over Newcastle Falcons in the first round of the EPCR Challenge Cup.
Stand out performances.
There was no shortage of impressive individual performances for Leinster, although the pack were particularly good as they outmuscled Racing 92.
Josh van der Flier came up with two tries, and he had plenty of help from his fellow forwards, who scored five of Leinster’s six tries on the day.
For Munster, Joey Carbery and Mike Haley frequently asked questions of Toulouse’s defence in tough conditions, although a stellar display from Antoine Dupont guided the French club to victory.
Ulster can take very few positives from a woeful effort against Sale, and the northern province now face an uphill battle to book a place in the last 16 with a return fixture against the Sharks and two games against reigning champions La Rochelle to come.
For Connacht, Cathal Forde gave a great account of himself at inside centre, while Adam Byrne impressed in one of the few opportunities he has been given so far this season.
Best try on opening weekend? 🤩
Vote for your #HeinekenChampionsCup Try of the Round now ➡️ https://t.co/7kbfYhvpyj pic.twitter.com/Ufjj8qHJko
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 13, 2022
Irish EPCR team of the weekend
15. Mike Haley (Munster)
14. Calvin Nash (Munster)
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster)
12. Cathal Forde (Connacht)
11. James Lowe (Leinster)
10. Joey Carbery (Munster)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster)
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster)
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster)
6. Ryan Baird (Leinster)
5. James Ryan (Leinster)
4. Jean Kleyn (Munster)
3. Michael Ala’alatoa (Leinster)
2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster)
1. Andrew Porter (Leinster)
Read More About: EPCR Challenge Cup, Heineken Champions Cup