Six Nations Rugby | Smith’s late show and Beirne’s brilliant national action
Smith is likely to bow out Guinness Six Nations next month and delivered an accurate cross kick to Andre Esterhuizen for a crucial late try.
The No.10 then shifted into high gear to make a conversion on the touchline – which entered the post – to seal a 14-12 victory over the Devonians, who were down to 14 men for the entire second half after Alec Hepburn’s red card.
Smith’s colleague at Red Rose, Ellis Genge, had less reason to smile, however, as the Leicester Tigers captain saw his side lose their 100% league record at Wasps.
Genge was celebrating the occasion of his 100th appearance, but was sent to the sin-bin and saw his team bow 16-13 at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
It was a weekend of Premiership firsts as Bath finally registered a win with a 22-19 home win over the Worcester Warriors.
The Warriors sent off Scottish mainstay Rory Sutherland after 75 seconds and fought valiantly, but Bath, led by England second row Charlie Ewels, recorded a well-deserved result at The Rec.
Wales opening half Dan Biggar scored 17 points as the Northampton Saints claimed a 44-8 win away from the Newcastle Falcons and Gloucester narrowly edged the Saracens 25-24 to win their first victory in nine in north London.
The Bristol Bears also returned to victory with a 32-15 victory over the Sale Sharks on Friday night.
Pat Lam’s men won for the first time in five games thanks to a brace from Luke Morahan with England’s Tom Curry unable to lead his Sharks to glory despite being just four points behind.
In the United Rugby Championship, Tadhg Beirne starred as Munster claimed an extremely impressive 18-13 victory over Ulster.
Beirne didn’t start on the blind flank until after Irish colleague Peter O’Mahony’s late withdrawal, but put in a phenomenal individual performance to help his team gain the upper hand despite having to play 65 minutes with 14 men after Simon Zebo’s red card.
Irish Under-20 captain Alex Kendellen, promoted to 23rd just after O’Mahony’s retirement, scored with five minutes remaining to seal the victory.
Both Scottish sides came to victories with the early start from Edinburgh helping them to a comfortable 34-10 victory over Cardiff.
Wales opening half Gareth Anscombe scored 14 points in a lost cause for the Ospreys as Scotland international Sione Tuipulotu’s try double helped the Glasgow Warriors come out on top 38-19.
On the other side of the Channel, the first try of French winger Damian Penaud could not prevent his team from Clermont Auvergne from losing 33-28 to Racing 92, whose team included the regulars of the Guinness Six Nations Finn Russell and Gael Fickou.
But the star of the Blues Melvyn Jaminet fared much better since the penalty from the full-back allowed his Perpignan team to win 25-23 over Biarritz during a repeat of the promotion final of the last season.
Elsewhere, Lyon overtook Pau 35-10 and Bordeaux BÃ¨gles clung to first place after overcoming an 11-point deficit to get ahead of Brive 22-19.
And Castres climbed to third place with a 15-9 victory over Stade FranÃ§ais.