Anyone who might have had any doubts about Jonny Wilkinson's ability to last the full 80 minutes will have had that small matter corrected last weekend when he played from start to finish against Leicester Tigers.
What he proved in steering Newcastle Falcons to a comfortable opening victory in their latest European Challenge Cup campaign against former Heineken Cup winners Brive was that his left peg is still as deadly as ever.
The England and Lions outside half hit the mark with 10 out of 11 kicks against a typically indisciplined French side as he knocked over six out of six penalties and four out of five conversions for a 26 points haul in his side's 51-19 victory.
Not to be outdone, Falcons skipper Colin Charvis barged his way over for two tries and was left a couple of blades of grass short of a hat-trick from a driving line-out. Charvis may have spent much of last night rueing his bad luck, but the 6,000 crowd were thanking their lucky stars they had been at Kingston Park to see the home side's first try.
Brive re-started after the second of Wilkinson's penalties in the 10th minute and the Falcons flew back at them. The ball travelled through 10 pairs of hands as it was worked from one end of the field to the other with Mathew Tait skinning the Brive defence with his pace before sending co-centre Jamie Noon racing to the line for one of the tries of the season.
Wilkinson added the conversion to make it 13-0 and a Matt Burke try, and nine more points from the Wilkinson boot, made it 27-5 to the home side at the break. Brive got a try through back row man Charl Van Rensburg in the first half and picked up two more in the second.
In the other game in Pool 4, Border Reivers had to dig deep to avoid embarrassment in Italy where L'Aquila were full value for their 22-12 half-time lead. Tries by Uruguayan international back row man Andrea Brignoni launched the home offensive and by the break scrum half Juan Cruz Legora and wing Roberto Mariani had followed suit.
The Reivers responded with two tries of their own before finally hitting their straps after the break to run out 32-25 victors. In the end, they pulled things around with five tries in all and they had outside half Charles Hore to thank for a a match winning 17 point contribution
Hore helped himself to two tries and full back Stuart Moffatt also barged his way over twice to secure a bonus point. The other Reivers try came from Scottish wing Simon Danielli.
Pat Sanderson got his quest for a third European Challenge Cup winners medal off to a flying start as he bagged one of Worcester's five tries in their 36-18 home win in Pool 5 over Montpellier.
A winner with NEC Harlequins in 2001 and 2004 the Warriors skipper was the guiding light as the English side kept their noses in front in the first half before stretching away after the break to extend their lead and pick up a bonus point.
New recruit Shane Drahm got the first of Worcester's five tries and he ended the game with a 16 point haul as he knocked over four conversions and a penalty. Sanderson's score, and a penalty try, gave Worcester a 22-15 lead before teenage wing Uche Oduoza and former England scrum half Andy Gomarsall wrapped up proceedings in the second half. Montpellier, who won the European Shield in 2004, crossed the home line twice in the first half, but could only manage a penalty after the break and had replacement flanker Cedric Mathieu sent off after 76 minutes for persistent offside..
Not to be outdone, Connacht ran in 10 tries in their 62-17 demolition of Amatori Catania in Galway. Keith Matthews led the way with a hat-trick and there were two each for Darren Yapp and Conor McPhillips.
The home side were completely in control from first to last and were 31-12 ahead at the interval. Another 31 points followed in the second half with Paul Warwick, Matt Mostyn and Colm Rigney also getting among the try scorers.
It didn't take long for former All Black flanker Sam Harding to find his feet in Europe as he crashed over for the first of Northampton Saints' seven tries in their 47-25 Pool 1 victory over Viadana at Franklins Gardens. Harding gone on the score sheet after only five minutes and his lead was enthusiastically followed by wings Ben Cohen and John Rudd.
Cohen scored a hat trick and Rudd got two. Jon Clarke got the other try and skipper Bruce Reihana kicked 12 points.
In Pool 2, Agen were far to powerful for Rugby Parma, running in seven tries in their 50-23 away win, while there was a scare for Toulon in Romania in Pool 3 as Bucuresti stole a point and almost a whole lot more as they were eventually beaten 20-16 by their French visitors.