Toulon overpowered Scarlets 31-20 to keep the heat on Saracens in Pool 3 of the European Champions Cup, while 14-man Montpellier comfortably beat Castres.
Three-time European champions Toulon had lost to current Cup holders Sarries last time out at home, but they returned to winning ways at Stade Mayol thanks to a bonus-point triumph anchored by Leigh Halfpenny to close back within five points of the pool leaders.
The Wales full-back scored 11 points from the tee and added a first-half try, either side of Mamuka Gorgodze and Romain Taofifenua touching down to take Toulon in at the break with a nine-point lead.
Guilhem Guirado’s try – converted by Halfpenny – took the game away from Scarlets, who scored their second try with a minute to play through John Barclay after Taofifenua had seen yellow, but it was not enough for the Welshmen, who went home pointless.
Montpellier defied the odds at Altrad Stadium, having lost prop Davit Kubriashvili for a shoulder charge with more than an hour to play when they were 8-3 down to Remy Grosso’s intercept try.
Timoci Nagusa’s try just before the interval helped Montpellier turn the tide, entering the break just a point behind and they stormed to a 32-14 victory in the second half thanks to tries from forwards Kelian Galletier and Shalva Mamukashvili before Nic White secured a bonus point with a 79th-minute score that puts the hosts in the hunt for top spot in Pool 4.
Kurtley Beale’s Wasps debut ended with a superb 32-17 win over Pro12 champions Connacht in Pool 2.
The Australia international scored the opening try and was sin-binned in a lively outing, having spent seven months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Bordeaux got the better of Exeter Chiefs, securing a 13-7 win in a battle between Pool 5’s bottom two teams.