As the Heineken Champions Cup takes centre stage again this weekend, we look at what’s at stake in each pool.
Leinster, Exeter Chiefs, Ulster Rugby and Toulouse all have four wins to date. Racing 92, who top a highly-competitive Pool 4, are unbeaten with three wins and a draw.
Leinster Rugby made Heineken Champions Cup history by qualifying for the knockout stage with two rounds of pool matches remaining, and the four-time champions are now on track to secure a home quarter-final.
Northampton Saints on nine points still have a chance to join them despite having just two wins from four in Pool 1.
Northampton Saints’ Dan Biggar, this season’s top scorer with 57 points, has a 95% place kicking success rate with 20 kicks on target (12 penalties, 8 conversions) from 21 attempts.
Josh van der Flier of Leinster is the top tackler to date with 73 from his four matches, and only one missed attempt. Leinster’s Garry Ringrose is the leading try scorer with 6 following his hat-trick against Northampton Saints in Round 4, to add to his treble against Benetton Rugby in Round 1.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 6, 2020
Exeter are one of four clubs with a 100% win rate in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, along with Leinster, Ulster and Toulouse. The Chiefs’ current four-game winning run is their best in Europe’s top flight.
If Exeter manage to continue that run, they will be guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals for the second time in their history. The Chiefs have won their last two away games and are aiming to win three in a row on the road for the first time in European competition.
Pool 2?? is being dominated by @ExeterChiefs after four rounds ??
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 7, 2020
Clermont and Ulster have met five times previously in the Heineken Champions Cup, with each game won by the home side on the day (Clermont W2, Ulster W3).
Clermont have won 30 of their last 31 home pool games in the Heineken Champions Cup (L1 v Bordeaux-Bègles). Meanwhile the Ulstermen have won four of their last five away games in the tournament, more than they’d won in their previous 13 games on the road (W3, L10).
The French side are the top points scorers (152) this season, with the joint most tries (20, level with Leinster).
Ulster are the only side yet to concede a try in the opening 20 minutes this season, however, no one has scored more than Clermont in the opening quarter of their fixtures (6, level with Leinster).
Clermont and Ulster are two of just four clubs yet to be shown a card of any colour to date, along with Lyon and Toulouse.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 8, 2020
Racing 92 who host Munster Rugby are guaranteed to join Leinster Rugby in the quarter-finals if they win their match in Round 5.
Munster lie in second with 11, with Saracens just one point behind them in third.
Saracens’ Richard Wigglesworth will make his 90th tournament appearance if selected for Saturday’s match against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium. The three-time Heineken Champions Cup winner has made 65 appearances for Saracens and 24 for Sale Sharks.
Toulouse who travel to Connacht Rugby, are guaranteed to join Leinster Rugby in the quarter-finals if they win their Round 5 match against the men from the west.
Remarkably Gloucester Rugby, who are still in the hunt for qualification from Pool 5 despite registering just one win, have the most bonus points to date with 5.
Gloucester are in second in the pool on 9 points, with Connacht third on 8.
Ellis Genge spoke to the Rugby Pod over the festive period in a brilliantly candid call. He spoke to Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode about his contract negotiations at Leicester Tigers, and the way that he deals with scrutiny on Twitter.
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