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Steenson steers the Chiefs, Hanrahan kicks the winner and Butler impresses

Here’s how the Irish players based abroad got on over the weekend.

HERE’S HOW THE Irish players based in England, France and Italy got on over the weekend.

Premiership

Exeter’s strong run of form continued with a hugely impressive 41-27 win away to Wasps in which they scored six tries, maintaining second spot in the league as a result.

The Chiefs’ forward pack did much of the damage, particularly through the maul, but Ulsterman Gareth Steenson was once again important at out-half, kicking four conversions and one penalty in blustery conditions.

Steenson

The 31-year-old, who has been with Exeter since 2008 after spells with Rotherham and the Cornish Pirates, has now kicked 72 points this season, as well as scoring three tries in his six Premiership starts.

Ex-Ulster back Ian Whitten played the closing 22 minutes of the game off the bench in midfield for Exeter, adding some direct carrying with his powerful frame.

Rob Baxter’s men remain three points behind Mark McCall‘s Saracens, who made it six wins from six league games this season with a 38-3 victory against Newcastle.

Former Ireland U20 hooker George McGuigan was at hooker for the Falcons in their home defeat, his second start of the season. The 22-year-old is out of contract at the end of the current campaign and may well be targeted by one or more of the Irish provinces.

Friday night’s Premiership action saw David Humphreys‘ Gloucester record an important 23-19 win over Sale Sharks. Former Ulster front row Paddy McAllister was in the starting team at loosehead, despite having been replaced after only 23 minutes of the previous weekend’s scrum humbling at the hands of Northampton.

Gloucester retained faith in McAllister and he recovered from the disappointment of that defeat to Northampton to play 49 minute in Friday’s win over a Sale side that included Peter Stringer at scrum-half.

Stringer

The 37-year-old’s superb pass from a lineout allowed Danny Cipriani to produce a moment of class for an analysis-room try finished by Neville Edwards. The Sharks did pick up a losing bonus point, but drop to eighth in the league as Gloucester take seventh.

Conor O’Shea‘s Harlequins had an enjoyable afternoon at the office against London Irish on Saturday, scoring five tries in a 38-7 success.

Tom Court was at loosehead prop again for the defeated Exiles, while Wexford man Eoin Sheriff made his second league start for the club in the second row. Ex-Connacht centre Eoin Griffin was back in the 12 shirt having been absent since October, completing 57 minutes of the game on his third start of the campaign.

Leicester warmed up for their visit to Thomond Park in the Champions Cup with a 29-20 victory away to Worcester Warriors. A red card for Warriors lock Donncha O’Callaghan just after half time – the first of 36-year-old’s professional career – proved costly for Dean Ryan’s side.

The former Munster lock was yellow carded by referee Wayne Barnes in the first half for a ruck infringement, before hauling down a Leicester maul for a second yellow card after the interval.

DOC

24-year-old Niall Annett, a former Ireland U20 captain, was at hooker once again for Worcester, his sixth start in six Premiership games so far this season.

JJ Hanrahan played a crucial role as Northampton Saints moved up to fifth in the league, as the Kerryman’s 72nd-minute penalty proved the winning of the game for Jim Mallinder’s side against Bath.

The Saints emerged as 13-11 winners at the Rec, with Hanrahan kicking two penalties and one conversion in total. The 23-year-old was handed Northampton’s 10 shirt in what was a huge game for the club and even retained the place-kicking duties when regular out-half Stephen Myler came off the bench in the second half.

Hanrahan shifted into midfield to accommodate Myler’s introduction and will have been pleased with his individual performance.

Championship

Bristol remain on top of the Championship after scoring five tries in a 39-29 win away to Kevin Maggs‘ Moseley on Saturday. Jack O’Connell was at loosehead once again for the table toppers, while 21-year-old Joe Joyce - an Ireland U20 international in 2014was in the second row.

Declan Cusack Cusack had a good weekend with Doncaster. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Second-placed Doncaster continued their own good form with an 18-13 win away to Bedford, as Limerick man Declan Cusack started at out-half. Ex-Ulster scrum-half Michael Heaney was in the nine shirt for the Knights once again.

Former Leinster second row Mark Flanagan made his 10th start of the season for the beaten Blues, who lie fourth in the division.

Nottingham’s Irish contingent of tighthead Conor Carey, outside centre Ben Woods and wing Sam Coghlan Murray had cause for celebration thanks to a 14-13 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Yorkshire Carnegie.

Elsewhere, Jersey enjoyed a bonus-point 35-7 win at home to Ealing Trailfinders, with Ulsterman Ross Adair on the wing again. Former Connacht back Mark McCrea was used off the bench by Jersey in their four-try victory, while ex-Munster and Connacht back row Eoghan Grace made an appearance for the Trailfinders.

London Scottish’s 21-16 win against Rotherham saw ex-Kilkenny College man Peter Lydon impressing as he converted all three of his team’s tries.

James McKinney 17/5//2014 Ulsterman McKinney made his return for the Titans. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

There was an Irish kicker in the Titans’ ranks too as Ulsterman James McKinney made his long-awaited return from a serious knee injury to kick three penalties and a conversion. Former Munster fullback Sean Scanlon was at 15 for Rotherham, while Michael Cromie was among their replacements.

Pro12

Ex-Ulster players Michael Allen and John Andress were both used off the bench by Edinburgh against their former province in a 14-7 defeat at Kingspan Stadium.

25-year-old wing Allen was making just his second appearance since recovering from a shoulder injury after switching to Edinburgh last summer, while 31-year-old prop Andress was making his 10th appearance of the season in all competitions.

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Top 14

Simon Mannix’s Pau went with a trio of ex-Munster men in their back row for Friday night’s 15-15 draw with Racing 92, as Paddy ButlerJames Coughlan and Sean Dougall all started.

Coughlan shed a fair amount of blood in the battle at Stade du Hameau, while Dougall and the majorly in-form Butler both stood out. Racing, for whom Ronan O’Gara is an assistant coach, drop to fourth in the league following the draw.

Bernard Jackman‘s Grenoble suffered a 33-16 loss on the road against La Rochelle to move down to 10th in the table, with imposing Ulsterman Chris Farrell making his fourth domestic start of the season in the 13 shirt.

Paddy Butler Pau fans have quickly taken to Paddy Butler. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Meanwhile, 29-year-old Cork man Dave Ryan made his own fourth league start of the season in Agen’s 53-23 defeat away to Toulon, who ran in eight tries as they prepared to host Leinster in the Champions Cup.

Pro D2

Jeremy Davidson‘s Aurillac had a difficult day on the road against Carcassonne on Friday, as they went down 24-3. The result means Aurillac drop to third in the French second tier.

Fédérale 1

Lille won for the eighth time in nine games in Group 2 of the Fédérale 1 league yesterday when they beat promotion rivals Limoges 23-26 on the road, with ex-Munster man Luke O’Dea at fullback once again.

Former Ireland U21 international and Connacht man Peter Durcan came off the bench for Limoges heading into the final quarter of the game.

In Group 3, an excellent season so far for Auch continued as they scored six tries in a 44-20 victory over Oloron, with former Old Belvedere lock Dean Moore in the second row.

Gerry Hurley Gerry Hurley's Grasse suffered defeat in Group 4. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Former Connacht lock Christian Short started in the second row as Vienne picked up a much-needed 20-13 win over Mâcon in Group 4, while ex-Munster scrum-half Gerry Hurley was in the nine shirt as Grasse suffered a 50-6 defeat to Bourg-en-Bresse.

National Championship of Excellence

Out-half Ian McKinley was on target with two conversions for Viadana as they drew 24-24 at home to San Dona in Italy, the former Leinster playmaker starting for the sixth time this season.

Meanwhile, former Crosshaven, Cork Con and Dolphin man James Rochford made his fifth start of the campaign as Lazio were beaten 34-15 by Petrarca. The tighthead prop is in his first season with Lazio.

This article was updated on Tuesday, 8 December to remove the erroneous claim that Declan Cusack kicked all of Doncaster’s points from the tee.

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