Wallabies abroad: No rest for Tigers duo, slimmed-down Skelton starts

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

There was no rest on the weekend for Wallabies duo Matt Toomua and Tatafu Polota-Nau, who played in Leicester’s season opener against Exeter.

Toomua played 66 minutes for the Tigers after having limited Test time in the Bledisloe openers and put in a solid defensive effort in tough conditions, making 10 tackles at inside centre.

Polota-Nau came off the bench in the 52nd minute replacing Tom Youngs.

The pair will travel back to Australia and link up with the Wallabies this week ahead of the third Rugby Championship Test against the Springboks.

There were some familiar faces in the Chiefs side, with prop Greg Holmes coming off the bench in the 57th minute and Nic White starting at halfback.

Will Skelton has dropped plenty of weight in the UK. Photo: Getty ImagesEx-Wallabies and Waratahs lock Will Skelton had an eye-catching performance for Saracens, due to his dramatic weight loss as much as anything else.

Former Wallabies back Luke Morahan got off to a winning start with new club Bristol in an upset win over Bath for the newly-promoted side.

Morahan was pivotal in the Bears’ attack, while former Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker proved a strong linkman at halfback.

Ben Tapuai had a double for Harlequins in a standout performance on his cub debut, after switching to the London club from Bath.

James Hanson crashed over for Gloucester in their first game of the season, a 27-16 win over Northampton.

Mammoth former Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro landed in Saints territory last week but is yet to pull on his new colours.

Former Super Rugby flyhalf Jono Lance provided a lighter moment in the opening round of the Premiership, packing down in the scrum midway through the Warriors win over the Wasps.

RESULTS

Exeter 40 - Leicester 6

Gloucester 27 - Northampton 16

Worcester 20 - Wasps 21

Newcastle 21- Saracens 32

Harlequins 51 - Sale 23

PRO 14

Former Aussie Sevens coach Andy Friend couldn’t quite eke a win in his first game in charge of Connacht, with his side going down 27-26 to Glasgow.

Former Brumbies centre Kyle Godwin played at outside centre for Connacht, reuniting with former Canberra teammate Jarrad Butler in the starting side.

Joe Tomane made his Leinster debut in a nail biting 33-32 win over Cardiff, while Scott Fardy played in the second row for the reigning European champs.

Henry Speight made his Ulster debut, making 77 metres in a 15-13 win over Scarlets.

RESULTS

Connacht 26 - Glasgow 27

Cardiff 32 - Leinster 33

Ospreys 17 - Edinburgh 13

Zebre 32 - Kings 16

Munster 38 - Cheetahs 0

Ulster 15 - Scarlets 13

Dragons 17 - Benetton 21

TOP LEAGUE


A 79th-minute Christian Lealiifano drop goal handed Toyota a win in the first round of the Japanese Top League.

Lealiifano was playing his first game for the side and showed his composure to slot the last-minute three-pointer.

It took 89 minutes for Sean McMahon and Matt Giteau’s reigning champion Suntory to notch a thrilling win over the Toyota Verblitz, with a penalty try snatching the victory.

Sean McMahon in action for Suntory. Photo: JRFU/NagaokaGiteau played just 29 minutes in the clash, while McMahon was yellow-carded in the 51st minute but played every minute outside of that in a typically relentless performance.

Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a try for Kobe, playing at outside centre in a win over NTT Shining Arcs.

Mike Harris played his first game for the Toshiba Brave Lupus, slotting 10 points off his own boot, but it wasn’t enough for a first-up victory.

Daniel Heenan was in the second row for Panasonic in a 15-11 win over Kubota.

RESULTS

Kobe Steelers 34 - Shining Arcs 27

Yamaha 43 - Coca Cola Red Sparks 3

Toyota Verblitz 25 - Suntory 27

NEC 8 - Toyota 9

Ricoh Black Rams 19 - Honda 34

Canon 26 - Toshiba Brave Lupus 20

Hino 33 - Munakata Sanix 3

Panasonic 15 - Kubota 11

TOP 14

Ben Mowen was at blindside flanker for Pau in a win over Toulon, with Jesse Mogg playing at fullback for his new side.

Former Reds flyhalf Jake McIntyre starred for Agen, scoring a double and 17 points in a 25-23 win over newly-promoted Perpignan.

Eto Nabuli was on the wing for Bordeaux in a loss to Stade Francais.

RESULTS

Pau 20 - Toulon 10

Castres 19 - Lyon 16

Stade Francais 20 - Bordeaux 8

Montpellier 36 - La Rochelle 14

Grenoble 20 - Toulouse 23

Agen 25 - Perpignan 23

Racing 92 17 - Clermont 40