Castres began their French Top 14 title defence with a 25-20 win over Montpellier, while there were also victories for Stade Français, Clermont, La Rochelle, Bordeaux and Racing 92.
The new Top 14 season kicked off this weekend, but it was definitely not a case of easing back into the thick of things for the teams in action as an average 53 points were scored in the opening seven games.
In a repeat of last season’s final, champions Castres got the better of runners-up Montpellier yet again, claiming a thrilling five-point win this time around.
The Saffa-laden Montpellier started strongly and opened up a 10-3 lead early in the contest with fullback Johan Goosen slotting a conversion and a penalty. But Castres fought back to level the scores at 13-13 heading into the break with fullback Scott Spedding accounting for their try.
The visitors seized control of the contest early in the second half with two more tries, including another one from Spedding, for a 25-13 advantage. While Montpellier did close the gap to five with a try from lock Paul Willemse, they were unable to complete the comeback despite Castres having to defend the last seven minutes with 14 players after conceding a yellow card.
In other notable results, Piet van Zyl scored a try and Morné Steyn kicked five conversions and a penalty to guide 14-man Stade Franςais to a 46-15 win against Perpignan.
Clermont laid down an early marker as they thrashed Agen 67-23, La Rochelle beat Grenoble 28-21, Bordeaux hammered Pau 41-19, Racing trounced Toulon 25-9 and a late drop goal saw Toulouse snatch a 16-16 draw with Lyon.
Round 1 results:
Castres 25 Montpellier 20
Stade Franςais 46 Perpignan 15
Clermont 67 Agen 23
La Rochelle 28 Grenoble 21
Bordeaux 41 Pau 19
Toulon 9 Racing 25
Lyon 16 Toulouse 16