Champions Cup best of Round 3: Gloucester's big day, Kolbe's stunner, Newcastle controversy and more
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 10/12/18 2:02pm
The third round of the 2018/19 Heineken Champions Cup produced yet more stunning games, noteworthy moments and talking points.
From Devon to France, Somerset to Edinburgh there were a number of standout incidents.
We look through what caught the eye below...
Performance of the Round
Take one look at the current Premiership table and it is immediately apparent there are two standout sides: Saracens and Exeter Chiefs are streets ahead at the top.
The Chiefs have made the Premiership final for three years on the bounce and have a fearsome home record - they haven't lost a Premiership game at Sandy Park since February.
As such, when Johan Ackermann's Gloucester pitched up to Sandy Park on Saturday for a pivotal European Cup Pool 2 clash, the expected result was undoubtedly a home win for Exeter - indeed only two weeks previously, the Chiefs had dispatched the Cherry & Whites domestically at the same stadium.
Gloucester put in a magnificent performance to better Exeter all over the park, however, dominating the contact, the lineout and proving the more clinical in a thoroughly deserved 27-19 away success.
A note too for Glasgow this week, who emphatically condemned Lyon to first home loss of the season with a 42-22 win.
Try of the Round
There were an incredible 63 Champions Cup tries over the 10 fixtures this week in a bumper weekend of European club action.
Included among them were some fabulous efforts: Matthew Morgan shocked Saracens at Allianz Park with a special score - a try so good it would likely take this category any other week of the year.
Don Armand finished a cracking try for Exeter, as did Willi Heinz for Gloucester after a breathtaking Ollie Thorley break and JJ Hanrahan rounded off a stunning Munster move.
But for the skill involved and the impact it had on the match, Toulouse wing Cheslin Kolbe's outstanding individual effort against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena is our try of the round.
The score settled a nervous Toulouse into the contest as Kolbe picked up the ball in-field off a scrum on his side's own 10-metre line, and would sprint in from 60 metres showing tremendous power to bump past Craig Hampson initially, before searing past two more challenges in a wonderful score.
The Top 14 outfit did not look back from there, registering their third win from three in the pool stages and second away from home.
Talking Point of the Round
Newcastle Falcons had been one of the stories of the Champions Cup after the first two rounds, picking up shock victories away at Toulon and at home over Montpellier.
Before they headed to Murrayfield to face Edinburgh on Friday, however, Dean Richards' side experienced something of an injury crisis in the tighthead prop position.
On Thursday, the club revealed that Logovi'i Mulipola, Trevor Davison and David Wilson had all suffered injuries in a 24-hour period, while Jon Welsh, Craig Mitchell and Paul Mullen were all unavailable too.
With all Newcastle's registered tightheads consequently out injured, the Premiership side requested special dispensation to register an academy tighthead prop but were informed by tournament organisers EPCR they would not be allowed as the request had been put in too late.
The Falcons had the option to insist on uncontested scrums, but chose not to and fielded loosehead Sam Lockwood in the No 3 shirt, while naming a bench with one player less. The situation ended up - predictably - having a major impact on the game as Edinburgh dominated at scrum time, forced a penalty try and ran away with the game in the second half.
Some late team changes. Sam Lockwood starts at 3, Sami Mavinga wears 18 and we have no number 17. We have been in dialogue with EPCR to register an additional prop in Jack Payne for more than a day, but regrettably we have not been permitted to so.— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) December 7, 2018
"You lose three tighthead props in 24 hours and ask for dispensation to bring in another one, but you're not allowed that, so you have to play a loosehead on the tight," Richards said afterwards.
"It is not like playing a left wing on the right wing - there is a safety issue there and they weren't prepared to address it, I was particularly disappointed with that."
It's likely we'll be hearing more about this situation...
Blunder of the Round
Bath were presented with potentially the toughest task of the weekend when they welcomed defending champions Leinster to the Rec on Saturday - a Leinster side which contained 11 of the Ireland 23-man squad which beat the All Blacks last month.
Yet, Todd Blackadder's side put in their best performance of the season to give the Irish province a real rattle and take the lead in a performance full of intensity, accuracy and breakdown supremacy.
But with the game finely poised at 7-7 into the second half, inexperienced out-half James Wilson threw a calamitous long pass in midfield which Jordan Larmour gobbled up to race in for the lead.
It was a huge error and enough for Leinster to see out the game from there. Promising signs for Bath, but without question the blunder of the round belongs to Wilson unfortunately!