Ahead of the opening weekend the ECPR have have been releasing some useless but none-the-less extremely interesting stats about this weekend’s European Rugby.
RugbyPass has collected a selection of them together for your perusal. We want to make it clear, your brain does not need these facts inside it, but we know full well you won’t be able to help yourselves.
Let’s get started.
Leinster versus Wasps
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2: This will be the third time Leinster and Wasps have clashed in the opening round of a European Cup campaign, both previous games took place in Dublin with the hosts winning in 2014/15 before Wasps inflicted a record home defeat on Leinster a year later.
3: Reigning champions Leinster won all nine games on their way to lifting the Champions Cup trophy last season and one more victory would equal their longest winning streak in the competition which they set across the 2011/12 and 2012/13 seasons.
4: This will be the fourth time in their last five European Cup campaigns that Wasps have begun with an away game in Ireland (W1, L2).
5: Leinster have won each of their last six games against Gallagher Premiership opposition, this after having won just four of their preceding 10 such games (D1, L5).
6: Last season Leinster were the only side to concede an average of less than 10 turnovers per game in the competition (9.7).
7: Despite beating fewer defenders per game (14.5) than any other side, only Saracens (3.6) averaged more tries per game than Wasps (3.5) in 2017/18.
8: Christian Wade had an average gain of 8.8 metres per carry in the pool stage of last season’s tournament, the best rate of any of the 66 players to make as many carries as him (45).
9: Leinster’s Luke McGrath provided six try assists last season, the most of any player in the competition.
10: Leinster’s James Ryan completed 74 of 74 tackles last season, no player attempted more without missing at least one.?
11: Leinster last season became just the second club after Saracens in 2015/16 to win every match in a campaign. Leinster did go unbeaten during their 2011/12 triumph (W8, D1).
Bath versus Toulouse
12: Bath Rugby and Toulouse have met six times in the tournament with the home side on the day winning just one of those fixtures and the visitors securing four victories (D1).
13: In their last four campaigns, Bath have averaged 19 points per match in 12 home fixtures, winning seven and losing five.
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14: Toulouse are without a win in their last five games against Gallagher Premiership opposition in the competition (D1, L4) although their last such victory was against Bath in 2014/15.
16: Toulouse have lost their opening game in each of their last two Champions Cup campaigns, this after winning their first match in the previous eight seasons.
17: Bath averaged more tackles per match (173) than any other club in the competition last season.
18: Toulouse had the best lineout success rate (92%) in the Challenge Cup last season.
19: Toulouse’s Florian Verhaeghe won more lineouts (28) than any other player in the Challenge Cup last season.
21: Bath’s Tom Dunn made 119 tackles in the pool stage last season – 31 more than any other player.
22: No side has won more Champions Cup titles than Toulouse, who have won the competition four times – and the same number as Leinster.
Northampton versus ASM Clermont
23: This will be the first Challenge Cup meeting between Northampton and Clermont, however, they have met five times before in the European Cup with the TOP 14 side winning four (L1).
24: Both are former tournament winners: Saints in 2009 and 2014, Clermont in 1999 and 2007.
25: Saints and Clermont met in the pool stage of the Champions Cup last season with both clubs winning at home. The only previous time that Saints had hosted Clermont was in October 2001 when the French outfit won 21-15.
26: Clermont averaged less possession per game (15m 17s) than any other side in the pool stage of last season’s Champions Cup.
27: This will be the first time in 10 years that Northampton have competed in the pool stage of the Challenge Cup. In 2008/09 they won the competition with five of their nine victories coming against French opposition.
28: Saints have lost just one of their last 12 home games against TOP 14 sides (W10, D1) in European competition, including pool stage wins against Montpellier and Toulon in their last full Challenge Cup campaign.
29: Clermont have only lost two of their last 17 Challenge Cup matches, a first-leg quarter-final defeat to Pau in 2004/05 and a semi-final loss to Stade Francais Paris in 2010/11, their most recent fixture in the competition.
30: Saints have lost just one of their last 12 home games against TOP 14 sides (W10, D1) in European competition, including pool stage wins against Montpellier and Toulon in their last full Challenge Cup campaign.
31: Clermont have won their last four games against Premiership opposition in the Challenge Cup, the last such game being the 2007 final against Bath.
32: Northampton (91%) and Clermont (90%) were two of just four clubs to record a lineout success rate of 90% or better in the Champions Cup last season, although Saints also recorded the lowest scrum success rate (63%).
33: Saints’ Dan Biggar recorded the best goalkicking success rate (94%) of any player to attempt 10+ kicks at goal in European competition last season. He was on target with 15 of his 16 place kicks for the Ospreys in the Champions Cup.
Even more facts…?
34: This season’s Heineken Champions Cup clubs have 28 European titles between them with Leinster Rugby leading the way on five.
35: Munster Rugby have made the most tournament appearances with 166 (114 wins, 2 draws and 50 losses).
36: Newcastle Falcons are back in Europe’s top flight for the first time since 2005.
37: The total attendance for matches since the tournament’s inception in 1995 will pass the 20 million mark before the end of the season.
38: Montpellier’s Nemani Nadolo was last season’s joint top try scorer with six.
40: Saracens’ Owen Farrell has been the tournament’s leading points scorer for the past four seasons. The 2017 ECPR European Player of the Year and inaugural winner of the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy is in third place on the all-time points scoring list with 688 behind Stephen Jones (Scarlets and ASM Clermont Auvergne) with 869 and Ronan O’Gara (Munster) on 1,365.
41: Lyon will be competing in the Heineken Champions Cup for the first time when they host the Cardiff Blues at the Matmut Stadium de Gerland on Sunday.
43: The 2018 EPCR European Player of the Year, Leone Nakarawa of Racing 92, was the only player to play every minute (720) of last season’s tournament.
43: All four clubs in Pool 1 – Leinster, Wasps, Bath Rugby and Toulouse – are previous winners of the tournament.
44: Leinster last season, and Saracens in 2015/16, are the only clubs to have won all nine tournament matches in the same season.
45: Five of the Round 1 matches – Exeter Chiefs v Munster, Montpellier v Edinburgh Rugby, Gloucester Rugby v Castres Olympique, Lyon v Cardiff Blues and RC Toulon v Newcastle Falcons – feature clubs who are playing each other for the first time in Europe’s top flight.
46: When Wasps were last in a pool with Leinster in 2015/16, they won both home and away games.
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