Rob Kearney has expressed delight after making his debut for Western Force in Super Rugby AU.
But the long-time former Ireland and Leinster full-back was on the losing side against holders ACT Brumbies on Friday.
Kearney started in the 15 jersey in front of a Covid-capacity crowd of 10,000 as Super Rugby returned to Perth for the first time since 2017.
But the Force fell short. Noah Lolesio, Irae Simone and Issak Fines all scored tries for the Brumbies as the inaugural champions won 27-11.
Home hopes got an early boost when Ian Prior slotted over a penalty but Lolesio, who contributed 17 points, levelled matters before crossing the line for the first try as the Brumbies established their superiority and went 13-6 up at the break.
Two more tries in the second half had the Brumbies headed for a bonus point but this was denied them by a late consolation try for the Force, as Argentine international Tomas Cubelli darted over to the delight of the home supporters.
Taking to social media after the game, Kearney (34), tweeted: "Delighted to have made my Super 15 debut with the Western Force last night - not the result we wanted but I'm sure we’ll have some great days ahead."
Meanwhile, an early three-try blitz set the Queensland Reds on course for a record 41-7 win over New South Wales Waratahs in the Super Rugby AU season-opener in Brisbane.
Runners-up in last year's first edition of the Australian domestic competition, the Reds scored 27 points in the first half on a muggy night after Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon had opened the scoring in front of a modest crowd at Lang Park.
Full-back Jock Campbell, hooker Alex Mafi and winger Filipo Daugunu crossed in the space of nine minutes to give the home side an imposing early advantage in the latest edition of an inter-state rivalry that goes back to 1882.
The Waratahs' hopes of fighting their way back into the match suffered a hammer blow just before halftime when centre Izaia Perese was shown a red card on debut for a tip tackle on Hunter Paisami.
Under law variations being used in the competition, the dismissal left the visitors short-handed for only 20 minutes before the Waratahs were allowed to replace the former Reds player.
The second half was a scrappy affair as the energy-sapping humidity took its toll and it was not until 10 minutes from time that Daugunu scored his second try to earn the bonus point, with Ilaisa Droasese adding a fifth at the death.
Reds skipper James O'Connor had a flawless night from the tee, kicking two penalties and five conversions, and played an integral role in the best try of the night.
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