ESPN's Premiership rugby review: Who shone in week one?

Danny Cipriani joined Gloucester this summer from fellow Premiership side Wasps. Paul Harding/PA Images via Getty Images

Premiership rugby returned this weekend with no shortage of memorable moments. But who shone the brightest in week one? ESPN recaps the key individual performances from the opening round games.

Gloucester 27-16 Northampton Saints
Danny Cipriani

Cipriani made headlines for the wrong reasons during the summer, but the talented fly-half had a debut to remember on his first appearance for the Cherry and Whites.

Following a frantic opening, Gloucester seized control thanks to a moment of genius from Cipriani. With the score at 14-11, Cipriani received the ball in line with the posts and floated a superb pass out wide to winger Charlie Sharples, who duly crossed for the score.

From there, Gloucester didn't look back and built on their lead through the boot of Billy Twelvetrees. But it was Cipriani who stole the show, out-shining opposite number and fellow debutant Dan Biggar.

Bristol Bears 17-10 Bath
Luke Morahan

With Charles Piutau out of action, winger Luke Morahan stepped up to the task and delivered as Bristol defeated Bath in the opening match of the new season. The Bears didn't see much of the ball as Bath dominated possession at Ashton Gate, but it was the Australian who provided the home side's creative spark when he got the chance.

It was a moment of magic from Morahan that sealed the win for Pat Lam's side. Picking the ball up just outside the 22, Morahan nipped between two Bath defenders before off-loading to Alapati Leiua, who crossed for the game-clinching score.

Harlequins 51-23 Sale Sharks
Ben Tapuai

Harlequins started the season on a high as they romped to a six-try opening-day victory over Sale. In Paul Gustard's first match in charge at The Stoop, it was another newcomer, Ben Tapuai, who made the difference early on with two key tries.

The Australian centre, who made the switch from Bath during the summer, led Quins in clean breaks (three) and defenders beaten (six) and was in the right place to finish off two team moves in the first half.

England prospect Marcus Smith also impressed from fly-half. The 19-year-old showed flair with a range of clever passes and kicks, an eye for the line with a second-half try, as well as accuracy from the tee, in an eye-catching 26-point performance.

Worcester Warriors 20-21 Wasps
Nathan Hughes

A weakened Wasps were fortunate to come away from Sixways with an opening-day win. With Willie Le Roux, Lima Sopoaga and the injured Jimmy Gopperth all absent, it was Nathan Hughes who stepped up with a powerful performance from No. 8.

The Englishman led the away side with his 26 runs, carrying for 90 metres, and it was his drive that led to Wasps' first try, starting the comeback from 13-0 down. Still, it would have counted for nothing had Worcester fly-half Duncan Weir converted a last-minute drop-goal attempt.

Exeter Chiefs 40-6 Leicester Tigers
Matt Kvesic

After missing out on last season's Premiership crown, Exeter picked up where they left off with a storming bonus-point victory over Leicester at Sandy Park.

Kvesic missed out on large parts of the Chiefs' campaign last year, but showed what he can bring to the team with a dominant opening-day display. The flanker led his side in tackles made (14) and was a constant thorn in Leicester's side.

Offensively, Kvesic was involved early on and showed good feet to set up the Chiefs' opening score. The 26-year-old then capped off an impressive performance when he crossed over for Exeter's fifth try of the day.

Newcastle Falcons 21 - 32 Saracens
Jamie George

The Premiership's defending champions were under pressure when George provided his second breakthrough moment of the match.

Down to 14 men and only one point ahead with five minutes remaining, George broke through the Newcastle line, bursting through tackles in a 40-metre drive to that led to Saracens' game-clinching try.

It gave Sarries clear breathing space after a brave effort from the Falcons and capped a fine display from George, who also scored his side's first try when he showed excellent hands to convert David Strettle's offload.

Will Skelton also impressed at lock while Alex Lewington made two tries on his debut, following a summer move from London Irish.