Peter Bracken in action for Connacht last season
Former Connacht prop Peter Bracken and current Ireland hooker Shane Byrne made their club debuts for London Wasps and Saracens over the weekend.
The 27-year-old Bracken lined out in Premiership champions Wasps' 18-10 win over Celtic League champions the Ospreys at the Regional Rugby Stadium on Friday night. A record 18,142 crowd turned out at the Welsh region's new home in Morfa to see Shaun Edwards' side awarded with the WRU 125 Challenge trophy.
Tighthead Bracken, who signed for Wasps in July, put in a notably combative display, using his evident strength in the scrum and showing his form in open play with a thunderous 35th-minute run from a Joe Worsley offload.
Last Sunday, following a period out with an ankle strain, Bracken celebrated his first call-up to the Wasps squad with a new club record dead lift of 240kg (38 stone). The Irishman beat out former All Black Craig Dowd's previous mark by 5 kilograms.
Former Munster scrum-half Eoin Reddan and Ireland flanker Johnny O'Connor both started Friday night's match for Wasps, while Jeremy Staunton, who was capped by Ireland in June against Japan, was on bench duty.
Also on Friday night, Ireland lock Leo Cullen scored his first try for Leicester Tigers, and their sixth and final effort of the match, as a young Munster side were defeated 50-19 at Welford Road.
Former Leinster and Ireland "A" flanker Shane Jennings also lined out for Pat Howard's side, showing his impressive ability with ball in hand and battling at the breakdown.
Howard said of the Irish duo afterwards: "Leo got another game under his belt after Connacht and impressed, and Shane was all over the ball. They both played their part in the win."
Saturday saw Shane Byrne earn his first day out in the Saracens' all black strip, but not at Vicarage Road. In the unusual surroundings of Harpenden RFC, the Aughrim man came on as a substitute in Sarries' exciting 25-24 friendly defeat of NEC Harlequins.