Toulouse moved into second place in the Top 14 table after a 27-9 win over Montpellier at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.
Jean-Baptiste Elissalde has been forced back into action for Toulouse after the club lost another scrum-half to the World Cup.
Toulouse and Montpellier moved to a share of the Top 14 lead after both recorded bonus-point wins.
Toulouse, eliminated in the semi-finals last year, are clearly amongst the favourites for the title this time around.
Ireland produced an improved second-half display but it was not enough to deny the Barbarians a three-try 29-23 win at Thomond Park.
Steve Thompson is returning to the Premiership lean, mean and hungry to reclaim the England hooker's jersey that once was his by right.
The Barbarians have revealed a host of star names for their upcoming fixtures against England and Ireland.
European Challenge Cup
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