Chris Boyd and Jerome Kaino are among the most satisfied New Zealanders in Europe but Jono Gibbes and Victor Vito were left to contemplate another moment of French madness after a contrasting weekend of Champions Cup fortunes.
Gibbes and Ronan O'Gara could only watch on helplessly as their La Rochelle outfit imploded to a 25-15 home loss to Sale. The turning point of this match arrived just before half time when French hooker Pierre Bourgarit decided it was a good idea to eye-gouge England flanker Tom Curry, who was named man of the match, during a minor scuffle.
La Rochelle captain Vito did his best to minimise the damage but referee Mike Adamson had no choice in sending Bourgarit off.
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The incident drew comparisons to French lock Sébastien Vahaamahina's costly elbow to the head in the World Cup quarter-final against Wales which earned him a red card and cost his side a place in the semifinals.
In this match, Bourgarit was booed off and disappeared down the tunnel in tears. Vito made no excuses for his teammate's actions: "Whenever there is a hand to the face; that is not good enough," Vito said.
If that rush of blood wasn't enough, La Rochelle also managed to concede two further yellow cards to near seal their fate at the bottom of the pool after their opening 31-12 home defeat from Exeter.
Boyd had much more reason to smile after his Northampton Saints made it two from two in Europe after a late penalty from Welsh playmaker Dan Biggar snatched a 35-32 away victory in Benetton.
Former Waikato and Blues hooker Hame Faiva's two tries for Benetton wasn't enough as Northampton, featuring Owen Franks and Matt Proctor in their starting side, scored 22 unanswered points to remain unbeaten in Europe.
Saints are tied at the top of their pool with Irish powerhouse Leinster, who ground out a 13-6 away win in Lyon. Return fixtures between these two unbeaten teams on December 7 and 14 will determine credentials, with both now seemingly set to progress to the knockouts.
Kaino's Toulouse, after their losing semifinal appearance in Europe last season, appear in formidable form again. The 32-17 home win over Connacht maintained the Top 14 champion's unbeaten start in Europe. Former Blues and Hurricanes midfielder Pita Ahki scored Toulouse's late final try which secured the bonus point.
Munster coach Johann van Graan was effusive in his praise for Alby Mathewson after he came off the bench for his 27th and final appearance for the club in their 21-21 draw with Racing 92 in Limerick.
Racing's Scottish playmaker Finn Russell scored a typically brilliant try with his through-the-legs nutmeg grubber and re-gather but van Graan opted to single out Mathewson's impact after replacing Conor Murray and his contribution over the past 15 months.
"He's certainly one of the best and most professional players that I've coached in my time," van Graan said of the former All Blacks halfback.
"He's been the standard bearer for us over the past few months - incredible human being. We are really going to miss him at Munster.
"He's one of the very best and he's a Munster man now - Once a Munster man, always Munster man, and we'll miss him."
After his unveiling as Wallabies coach, the week did not end so well for Dave Rennie as his Glasgow Warriors blew a 13-10 halftime lead to lose 34-18 away to Exeter.
Rennie's men remain in contention for the knockouts after they did enough to subdue Sale in their opening match but improvements are clearly required to progress from third in their pool.
Elsewhere in the Challenge Cup, Pat Lam's Bristol continued their strong start to the season with a 36-0 away win at Brive that follows their 59-21 home victory over Zebre.
Steven Luatua, Bristol's captain, produced a man of the match performance against Brive as his men kicked out to lead 24-0 in as many minutes.
Johnny McNicholl warmed up for his Welsh debut this week against the Barbarians by scoring a try in Scarlets' 17-16 defeat to Toulon.
Former Crusaders assistant coach Brad Mooar applauded Scarlets' efforts after lock Tevita Ratuva's red card forced them to play the entire second half one man short.
Even then Toulon, who featured Liam Messam at No 8 but no Julian Savea, only stole victory with an 80th minute Anthony Belleau conversion.
Champions Cup results:
Ulster 18-13 Clermont
Saracens 44-3 Ospreys
Northampton 35-32 Benetton
Toulouse 32-17 Connacht
Leinster 13-6 Lyon
Exeter 34-18 Glasgow
Harlequins 15-9 Bath
Munster 21-21 Racing 92