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Six stats to worry Cardiff Blues fans ahead of the Challenge Cup Final

By Online Editors
Wales and Cardiff Blues back-row Sam Warburton

The Cardiff Blues face off against Gloucester in this weekend’s Challenge Cup final in Bilbao.

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The Blues booked their place in the Bilbao final with a stunning 16-10 victory over Pau at the Arms Park last month and will now take on the Cherry and Whites at San Mamés Stadium with an eye on repeating the feat of 2010, when Dai Young’s side beat Toulon.

This will be the second meeting between the clubs in the Challenge Cup. Gloucester won last season’s quarter-final clash 46-26.

Sadly for the Cardiff Blues, there’s a pattern, with most of the stats stacked in favour of the Cherry and Whites.

Continue reading below…

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• The last three Challenge Cup finals have all been decided by a single figure margin, a sequence that started with Gloucester’s 19-13 win over Edinburgh in 2015.

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• Gloucester are bidding to equal Harlequins’ record of three Challenge Cup titles having won in 2006 and 2015.

• The Blues have averaged 16.9 points and 1.9 tries per game on their way to the final. Only Oyonnax (1.8) have averaged fewer tries in the competition this season and only Enisei (15.2) have averaged fewer points.

• Conversely only Edinburgh (5.7 tries, 41.1 points) have averaged more tries and points than Gloucester this season (5.6, 39.9).

• Gloucester have won a competition high 98% of their own scrums this season, losing just one of 58 against the head.

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Jake Polledri has beaten 28 defenders in his seven appearances, the most of any forward this season. He has also completed 95% of his 65 tackles and won eight turnovers, while his total of 323 metres is the second most by a forward and the most by any player in the Gloucester squad.

But, conversely, on the bright side…

• Thirty-seven year-old Gethin Jenkins, who played in a losing Challenge Cup final with Pontypridd in 2002, and who captained the Cardiff Blues to victory in 2010, could become the first player to lead a winning side in two finals.

• Cardiff Blues are the only Welsh side to have won a European title beating RC Toulon 28-21 in the 2010 Challenge Cup final. Gethin Jenkins and Taufa’ao Filise both started that match in Marseille while Scott Andrews was on the bench.

Watch the RugbyPass Original ‘Dragons Lair’ documentary below:

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