Big-spending Racing 92 are ready to play host to Saracens, the defending Champions Cup champions, this Saturday in Paris. It’s a fixture that few predicted would occur as the expectation before last weekend’s quarter-finals was that No1 ranked Leinster would defeat Saracens in Dublin just hours before Clermont were tipped to eliminate Racing.
However, both away sides came through to set-up what will be the third Racing versus Saracens clash in the 2019/20 campaign after the clubs met each other twice last winter in the pool stages.
Now they go head-to-head again in a mouthwatering Anglo-French encounter. Here are nine match facts to note before Saturday’s 1pm kick-off (UK time).
1. Saracens have won six of their eight meetings with Racing 92 in the Heineken Champions Cup (L2), including victories in both knockout clashes during that sequence (2015 quarter-final, 2016 final). However, Racing were victorious at Paris La Defense Arena in round one this season.
2. Racing have reached the semi-finals for the third time, qualifying for the final on both previous occasions. Saracens have reached this stage on seven occasions (W4, L3), winning their last three semi-finals in a row.
You'd need an XV of people to help Maro carry this wedge to the bank ?https://t.co/RtemlR17at
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 24, 2020
3. Racing have won ten of their last eleven home games in the Heineken Champions Cup (L1), including seven of eight since moving to La Defense Arena, although their solitary defeat came in their only knockout game during that run (2019 quarter-final v Toulouse).
4. Saracens have won 14 of their 16 Heineken Champions Cup matches since the beginning of 2018/19 (L2), although one of their two defeats was that 30-10 loss to Racing in round one.
5. Saracens have won ten of their last eleven knockout fixtures in the Heineken Champions Cup (L1), including their last four in a row, with their only defeat in that spell against Leinster in the 2018 quarter-final.
6. Racing have made 88 clean breaks this season, more than any other side and their highest total in this category was against Saracens in round one (20).
7. Racing have received six yellow cards to date, and no side has been shown more (level with Gloucester), while Saracens have had the most red cards this season (2).
8. Maro Itoje, who held talks with Racing about a move, made 19 tackles in the quarter-final victory over Leinster, the most of any player last weekend, while his teammates Brad Barritt and Duncan Taylor made the joint-most tackles of any back (16 each).
9. Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92) has beaten 42 defenders, 13 more than any other player and over four times as many as any Saracens player (Elliot Daly – 10).
Bit of a bromance between the England loosehead and the Springboks tightheadhttps://t.co/WiBasPZQok
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 26, 2020
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