Having been delayed by a day, Premiership rugby finally got going on Saturday as 12 of the 13 teams began their campaigns on a weekend dominated by events outside of sport.
The reigning champions lost on the road, the finalists enjoyed a week off and one club overturned a record half-time deficit. Here are four talking points from the weekend’s action.
Bears take Bath
More than 22,000 turned up to Ashton Gate on Saturday evening for the rearranged fixture between Bristol Bears and Bath Rugby.
The Bears were reportedly on for a Friday night sell-out but the late decision to postpone the match did not help that cause.
Bristol struggled last season but Bath were abominable. This year, however, the two sides looked much more competitive as the home side ran out 31-29 winners.
New signing Ellis Genge scored a brace for the Bears while fellow newcomers Magnus Bradbury and AJ MacGinty contributed too.
The Premiership is stronger when the four West Country sides are competitive and early outings suggest that could be the case this year.
Irish on top
London Irish backed up their first top-eight finish since 2012 last year with a storming 45-14 win over troubled Worcester Warriors on Saturday to leave them top of the league after the first round.
Irish have developed into a side the neutrals love to watch and their combination of quickfire backs and burrowing forwards gives them a stability and balance few other sides have.
Financially stricken Worcester looked rusty, and that’s no surprise given their lack of a pre-season. With off-field matters swirling and dominating the agenda, Steve Diamond’s men will be happy to have got a hit out.
But the story from Saturday’s match in west London is Irish – they’re up and running and looking good for it.
Tigers lose roar
The Premiership champions lost their first match since April on Saturday as Leicester Tigers fell to a last-minute 24-20 defeat at the hands of Exeter Chiefs.
Rebadged following a row over their previous branding, the Chiefs hosted Leicester in what was a kick-dominated match but the home side rumbled over as the clock turned red to get their campaign off to a solid start.
Exeter struggled with rule changes last year and have lost a couple of their big names during the summer so the win will be one the fans are able to take comfort in.
As for Leicester, they’re on one league point alongside Bath and Newcastle – who lost 31-40 to Harlequins on Saturday.
Gloucester recovered from a record home deficit at half-time of 21 points yesterday to score 27 of their own and come out winners against Wasps at Kingsholm.
In a sensational turn of fortune, Gloucester’s comeback was inspired by a Louis Rees-Zammit wonder try before scrum-half Charlie Chapman and the Cherry and White driving maul crossed the whitewash.
It was a performance from two teams in different places: Gloucester looking to build on a fifth-placed finish last year and Wasps searching for league form again.
Gloucester head coach George Skivington has always spoken about trusting the process, and yesterday’s result was testament to that – if a little too close for comfort.
The club have a bye next week before facing last year’s finalists Saracens in north London.
The Premiership is back and it could be one of the most competitive ever. There may not be any relegation this season but the fight for the top eight and Champions Cup rugby could be one of the tightest yet.