James Lowe’s talents seem to be flowering at Leinster.
The 26-year-old former Chiefs and Maori All Blacks wing scored two key tries in Leinster’s 30-22 Guinness PRO14 defeat of arch-rivals Munster on the weekend. That gives Lowe four tries from four outings this season and 14 from 17 appearances in all since he joined the Irish province late last year.
His second try saw an acrobatic finish and was set up by another transplanted Kiwi, former Blues and Taranaki halfback Jamison Gibson-Park. Michael Bent was at tighthead prop for the victors.
Another Kiwi No 9, former All Black Alby Mathewson, scored a try for Munster.
Jayden Hayward, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara and Monty Ioane all enjoyed Treviso’s 28-5 victory over the Southern Kings.
Brandon Nansen’s Dragons were on the receiving end of a 23-15 loss to Cardiff Blues, for whom Gareth Anscombe kicked three goals. Willis Halaholo and Rey Lee-Lo again teamed up in the Blues’ midfield, while Nick Williams was at No 8.
Simon Hickey kicked seven goals in Edinburgh’s 37-21 win over the Cheetahs. Simon Berghan came off the bench.
Sean Maitland’s Saracens won 25-20 at Alofa Alofa’s Harlequins.
Northampton, with Ahsee Tuala, Dylan Hartley, Teimana Harrison and Ben Franks in the ranks, fell 23-15 at home to Leicester.
Gloucester’s Josh Hohneck and Jason Woodward tasted a 35-21 away win over Nathan Hughes’ Wasps.
Exeter defeated Bath 39-24. Jackson Willison, Cooper Vuna and Anthony Perenise turned out for the vanquished.
In the French Top 14, Toulon’s travails continued, losing 29-17 at Montpellier, and losing Liam Messam to a red card late in the piece for a shoulder charge which connected with the chin of Montpellier centre Yves Reilhac. Malakai Fekitoa and Julian Savea were replacements.
Ziggy Fisi’ihoi’s Stade Francais won 14-9 at Castres, whose line-up included David Smith, Maama Vaipulu and Alex Tulou.
Pita Ahki, Charlie Faumuina and Jerome Kaino of Toulouse won a tight, 10-0 result over Agen, who fielded Tom Murday and Sam Vaka.
Leva Fifita scored a try in Grenoble’s narrow 28-25 victory over Bordeaux-Begles. His teammates included Lolagi Visinia, Steven Setephano, Taiasina Tuifua and Alaska Taufa.
Benson Stanley and Daniel Ramsay turned out for Pau in the 12-9 win over Perpignan, whose ranks included Michael Faleafa, Shahn Eru and Genesis Mamea.
Charlie Ngatai, Toby Arnold and Rudi Wulf of Lyon won an important 19-13 result in Paris over Racing-Metro, who fielded Census Johnston, Ben Volavola, Dominic Bird and Joe Rokocoko.
Three penalty goals from the boot of Ihaia West helped carry La Rochelle to a 16-12 win over Clermont. Hikairo Forbes, Uini Atonio and Victor Vito were alongside West, while Les Jaunards fielded Isaia Toeava, George Moala and Loni Uhila. Making his debut on the left wing was Tim Nanai-Williams.
This weekend sees the kickoff of the European Champions and Challenge Cups, so the professional domestic leagues will take a three-week hiatus.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.