The countdown to the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa began this weekend as the Guinness Premiership and Magners League finally kicked off.
The premier competition between the three Celtic nations started on Friday, when all four fixtures went the way of the visiting sides.
Heineken Cup holders Munster were 20-15 winners at Edinburgh, EDF Energy Cup champions the Ospreys defeated Connacht 16-3, Glasgow Warriors won 12-6 against Newport Gwent Dragons and Ulster lost out to Llanelli Scarlets at Ravenhill.
Saturday night saw 2005 Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll play his part in Leinster’s 16-16 draw with Cardiff Blues, for whom O’Driscoll’s replacement as skipper on the Lions tour to New Zealand, Gareth Thomas, didn’t feature.
Saturday also saw Lions head coach Ian McGeechan start the season with his club side London Wasps, although the man charged with beating the Springboks in nine months’ time will have been disappointed to see London Irish inflict a 24-16 defeat on the reigning English champions.
The other clash in the London double header saw Dean Richards’ Harlequins secure a narrow win over Saracens at Twickenham, while Northampton, Leicester, Bath and Sale were all winners earlier today.
Magners League results
Connacht 3-16 Ospreys
Edinburgh 15-20 Munster
Newport-Gwent Dragons 6-12 Glasgow
Ulster 9-16 Llanelli Scarlets
Cardiff Blues 16-16 Leinster
Guinness Premiership results
London Irish 26-14 Wasps
Saracens 21-24 Harlequins
Bristol 20-33 Bath
Gloucester 8-20 Leicester
Newcastle 9-14 Sale
Northampton 21-13 Worcester