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Defences rule: Bristol and Toulon have conceded just 1.3 tries per game this season

By Online Editors
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The countdown is on towards Friday’s much-anticipated Challenge Cup showpiece featuring Toulon and Bristol at Aix-en-Provence. Here are nine match facts ahead of the Anglo-French decider which has an 8pm kick-off at Stade Maurice-David: 

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1. Bristol and Toulon have met twice previously in the Challenge Cup during the pool stage in 2008/09. Bristol won 39-11 at home and 37-19 at Stade Mayol.

2. Bristol or Toulon will become the 16th different club to win the Challenge Cup. Bristol have qualified for the final for the first time while Toulon have reached this stage twice previously, losing to Cardiff Blues in 2010 and to Biarritz in 2012.

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Legendary France player Philippe Sella guests on the Le French Rugby podcast
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Legendary France player Philippe Sella guests on the Le French Rugby podcast

3. This will be the ninth Anglo-French final in the Challenge Cup with Premiership clubs leading the head-to-head by five wins to three. However, the Top 14 have won each of the last two such finals.

4. Bristol (W7, D1) and Toulon (W8) are undefeated in this season’s tournament and for both clubs, it represents their longest unbeaten run in the competition.

5. Bristol and Toulon have conceded just 1.3 tries per game this season, fewer than any other club in the competition. Bristol also top the charts for points per game (37.8).

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6. Bristol have averaged the most carries (150), metres gained (562), clean breaks (18.3), defenders beaten (32.9), passes (223) and offloads (12.3) to date, and they have also won the joint most turnovers (7.3), level with Toulon who have the best tackle success rate this season (88%).

7. Bristol’s Luke Morahan has made the most clean breaks (21) and the most metres (499) of any player in the competition.

8. Toulon’s Baptiste Serin has been directly involved in more tries than any other player (10), scoring three and recording a competition-high seven assists.

9. Gabin Villiere (Toulon) has made 329 metres from his 24 carries, and his average gain of 13.7 metres is the best rate of any player to make 15+ carries. Villiere has also won eight turnovers this season, the most of any back and second-most overall behind Jack Willis of Wasps (10).

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