Gallagher Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs are ready to play host to Toulouse, one of European rugby’s most celebrated clubs who will come to Sandy Park on Saturday looking to take another step towards a record fifth Champions Cup title.
The Chiefs saw off Northampton last Sunday in their all-English quarter-final meeting which took place just a few hours after Toulouse had recorded a comfortable win in France over Ulster.
Now those last-eight winners go head-to-head in an Anglo-French encounter holds much intrigue. Here are ten match facts to note before Saturday’s 3.30pm kick-off:
1. Exeter and Toulouse will go head-to-head for the first time in European competition. The Chiefs will be the twelfth different Gallagher Premiership club that Toulouse have faced in the Heineken Champions Cup, and no other team has faced more English clubs (Leinster and Cardiff Blues also twelve).
2. Exeter have qualified for a Heineken Champions Cup semi-final for the first time, while Toulouse have reached this stage for the twelfth time – only Munster (14) have reached the last four on more occasions.
This is excellent ? https://t.co/H2o8tBt7ER
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 24, 2020
3. Toulouse have won their last seven games in the Heineken Champions Cup, the fifth time they have enjoyed a winning run of that length. However, they have only won more than seven games in a row once before – an eleven-game streak that spanned the 2009/10 and 2010/11 campaigns.
4. Exeter are unbeaten in their seven games this season. Before this run, they had never managed more than two matches without defeat.
5. Exeter have won five of their last six games against Top 14 opposition, including their last three in a row. Toulouse have won their last six on the bounce against Premiership clubs.
6. Exeter have conceded 10.6 turnovers per game on average this season, fewer than any other side, while only Connacht and Harlequins (both 15.7) have conceded more than Toulouse (15.6).
7. Toulouse have made 481 metres per game on average this season, more than any other side, while they also top the charts for offloads, averaging 12.3 per game.
8. Toulouse’s Thomas Ramos has landed 31 successful placekicks this season, more than any other player and one more than Exeter’s Joe Simmonds, who has the best goalkicking success rate of any player to attempt more than five kicks. (94 per cent, 30/32).
9. Exeter’s Jonny Gray completed 18/18 tackles in the Chiefs’ victory over Northampton – no other player made more without missing one in the quarter-finals. Including his appearances this season for Glasgow Warriors, Gray has averaged 19.8 tackles per game, the most of any player to feature more than twice in 2019/20.
10. Ramos made 125 metres in Toulouse’s quarter-final victory against Ulster, the most of any player last weekend, while teammate Antoine Dupont recorded the second-highest total (106m).
Catch all the best bits from yesterday's quarter-final ? pic.twitter.com/AvQ85wNdAX
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) September 21, 2020
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