Leinster Rugby kicked off their 2017/18 season in a high-scoring and entertaining encounter at Stade Aime Giral where Perpignan came with a strong finish to claim victory.
It was a useful workout for a youthful Leinster side against a Perpignan side who will open their Pro D2 campaign at home to Bayonne next weekend.
Perpignan led 19-17 at the end of an entertaining opening half on a cool but dry evening at Stade Aimé Giral.
Ed Byrne wasted little time in crowning his first game as captain when his twin brother Bryan set him up for a try after less than three minutes. Cathal Marsh added the conversion for the perfect start.
Perpignan hit back when out-half Jacques Potgieter intercepted to score a try which he also converted after six minutes.
Perpignan hit the front for the first time when flanker Alan Brazo scored after a couple of penalties to the left corner yielded an unconverted try.
Good work from Nick McCarthy, Marsh and Ian Fitzpatrick set up Tom Daly to crash over for a good try after 24 minutes, which Marsh converted to edge Leinster 14-12 in front.
But another intercept saw Perpignan score in the right corner from centre Sione Piukala, with Potgieter adding the touchline conversion to make it 19-14.
Marsh cut the gap in the final action of the opening half when he landed a penalty from 37 metres.
Romuald Seguy extended Perpignan’s advantage two minutes after the restart with a penalty, but Marsh cancelled it out at the other end three minutes later.
Bryan Byrne made it a hat-trick of Carlow try scorers on the night when he pounced to score in the right corner after 53 minutes, but another penalty from Seguy meant the sides were tied at 25-25 going into the final quarter.
Marsh raced in for a good try after 63 minutes which he converted from the right.
However, Perpignan hit back and Christophe Andre scored from close range with Seguy’s conversion tying the match at 32-32 with nine minutes remaining.
It got better for the hosts two minutes later when Sadek Degmache broke from deep to score, with Seguy adding the extras, before then putting 10 between them with a penalty from just inside halfway.
Leinster Rugby’s preparations for the new season continue in St Mary’s RFC next week when Leo Cullen’s men face Gloucester Rugby. Tickets are on sale now from €10 for adults and €5 for children.
Referee: P Gauzere