European Champions Cup Rugby Semi-Finals – Some Facts and Figures

Jamie Heaslip against Clermont

This weekend the European Champions Cup Rugby semi-finals take place in Dublin and Lyon, with two Irish teams, Munster and Leinster involved. Here are some facts and figures ahead of the big games.

The Aviva Stadium – also under its previous name Lansdowne Road – will be staging a European Cup semi-final for the seventh time. Only once, in 2004, has an English Premiership club featured in a semi-final in Dublin. On that occasion Wasps defeated Munster 37-32, a scoreline which remains the record for the most points scored in a last-four match in the tournament.

Of the six semi-finals involving Aviva Premiership and Guinness PRO12 clubs, the Premiership leads the way with five wins.

The match at the Aviva Stadium will be Saracens’ fifth semi-final in a row equalling Munster’s tournament record between 2000 and 2004.

Owen Farrell of Saracens and Munster’s Tyler Bleyendaal are this season’s tournament top scorers with 97 and 94 points respectively.

Currently level with Vincent Clerc on 36 tries, Saracens’ Chris Ashton will become the leading try scorer in the history of the European Cup if he crosses the whitewash on Saturday. His overall total of 43 in European competition also sees him level with the Bristol Rugby wing, Tom Varndell.

If selected for Saracens, Marcelo Bosch will make his 50th European Cup appearance (Saracens 24, Biarritz Olympique 25) at the Aviva Stadium.

The clash of Clermont and Leinster will be the first time a Champions Cup semi-final has been played at the Matmut Stadium de Gerland in Lyon. It will be Leinster’s 150th tournament match and Clermont’s 99th.

To date, there have been 13 semi-finals between Irish provinces and TOP 14 clubs, and the French are on top with eight wins to five. The last time a TOP 14 club lost a semi-final in France was in 2012 when Leinster defeated Clermont in Bordeaux.

If selected for the semi-final, Leinster captain, Isa Nacewa, will become the 18th player to make 50 European Cup appearances for the Irish province.

Fifteen of the 42 semi-final matches have been won by the ‘away’ club – a 36% success rate.

If Leinster lift the trophy at BT Murrayfield next month and make it a four titles, Leo Cullen will become the first person to win the European Cup as a player and as a coach.

When Clermont and Leinster met in the 2012 semi-final, Jono Gibbes was Leinster’s Forwards Coach. Now the 40-year-old New Zealander does the same job for Clermont.

Leinster are this season’s top points scorers with 259 and top try scorers with 35.


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