Lima Sopoaga is already proving his considerable worth for Wasps in the Gallagher Premiership.
The 27-year-old No 10, who played 16 tests for the All Blacks, slotted a late penalty goal to send Wasps to a 23-22 victory at Newcastle’s Kingston Park.
Furthermore, he put in a grubber which led to a Josh Bassett try, and set up former Springbok Juan de Jongh for a five-pointer. There were two other goals and even after five rounds, with Wasps lying third on the log, Sopoaga seems to have stepped into Jimmy Gopperth’s shoes with aplomb. Nathan Hughes came off the bench for Wasps.
For the Falcons, wing Sinoti Sinoti’s footwork again proved a handful for defenders, his offload leading to Mark Wilson’s try. Tane Takalua and Logovi’i Mulipola also featured for the Falcons.
Sean Maitland scored a try in Saracens’ 50-27 defeat of Bath, which fielded Anthony Perenise and Paul Grant.
Valentino Mapapalangi’s Leicester Tigers edged Sale 19-15. Denny Solomona and Bryn Evans turned out for the Sharks.
Harlequins beat Josh Hohneck’s Gloucester 27-25, with Jason Woodward off the bench for the cherry and whites.
A try to Alapati Leiua was not quite enough, as the Bristol Bears fell 45-40 to Northampton in the Pat Lam-Chris Boyd coaching match-up. Siale Piutau, John Afoa, Joe Latta, Steven Luatua, Jack Lam and Tusi Pisi all featured for the Bears, while the Saints included Ahsee Tuala, Piers Francis, Dylan Hartley, Teimana Harrison and Ben Franks.
In the Guinness PRO14, former All Blacks halfback Alby Mathewson has turned up at Munster, who crushed Ulster 64-7.
Callum Gibbins’ Glasgow beat Brandon Nansen’s Dragons 29-13.
Johnny McNicholl and Blade Thomson were in the Scarlets’ outfit that hammered the Southern Kings 54-14.
James Lowe’s Leinster won 20-3 at Connacht, which included Bundee Aki, Tom McCartney and Dominic Robertson-McCoy.
Ma’afu Fia’s Ospreys defeated Zebre 22-8, despite a try to flanker Jimmy Tuivaiti.
Simon Hickey’s five goals were central to Edinburgh’s 31-30 nailbiter over Treviso, which featured Jayden Hayward, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara and Dean Budd.
Another former Auckland No 10, Gareth Anscombe, slotted four critical goals in Cardiff Blues’ 24-21 victory over the Cheetahs. Willis Halaholo and Rey Lee-Lo were outside him the Blues’ midfield.
In the French Top 14, the Parisian derby saw Racing-Metro edge Ziggy Fisi’ihoi’s Stade Francais 17-16. Joe Rokocoko started on the wing for Racing, while off the pine came Ben Tameifuna, Dominic Bird and Ben Volavola.
Two late tries to replacement No 8 Alex Tulou carried Castres to a 26-22 win at Toulouse. Maama Vaipulu and David Smith both started for Castres. Toulouse fielded Charlie Faumuina, Joe Tekori, Jerome Kaino, whom they clearly see as a No 8, Pita Ahki and Carl Axtens.
Pau – with Benson Stanley, Jamie Mackintosh and Daniel Ramsay used as replacements – won 28-25 at Agen, which included Tom Murday and Sam Vaka.
Nemani Nadolo’s Montpellier edged Shahn Eru and Genesis Mamea’s Perpignan 23-20.
Clermont, with Fritz Lee, Isaia Toeava, George Moala and Loni Uhila in the ranks, heaped more misery on the 2-4 Toulon, for whom Julian Savea and Malakai Fekitoa played, to the tune of 28-8. Toulon has the worst attacking record in the Top 14.
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