After eight months, the Champions Cup takes center stage again next weekend with the quarter-final matches. The eight teams that will fight for a place in the semifinals have striking numbers: Leinster, Saracens, Clermont, Racing 92, Toulouse, Ulster, Exeter and Northampton are the post-pandemic survivors who dream of winning the biggest tournament in Europe.
Leinster and Toulouse can make history The two teams, who will host Saracens and Ulster respectively, are still in the running to win their fifth European title, something never seen before in the tournament’s history. The last European championship in Toulouse dates back to 2010 with a victory against Biarritz. While Leinster’s, unfortunate finalist last season, was in 2018 against Racing 92.
Leinster, best attack of this edition
In the group stage Leinster did not leave room for suspense. The Irish finished leaders in their group with six victories, fourth of them with the offensive bonus. With 28 tries, they are logically the best attack of this 2019/2020 edition. Center Garry Ringrose is currently the competition’s top scorer with six wins, the same as Teddy Thomas (Racing 92) and Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs).
A historic ranking for Exeter?
Among the eight teams still in the competition, Exeter is the only one to have never played a Champions Cup semi-final. A rookie in European glamor, the English club participated in just four editions, with only one quarter-final qualification in 2016 and a loss to Wasps, 24-25.
The incredible constancy of Saracens
For the ninth consecutive year the Sarries will play the quarterfinals. The English club, which has Argentine Juan Pablo Socino in its ranks, won the European Cup three times in the space of four years (2016, 2017 and 2019).
Only 22 away victories
Since the creation of the Champions Cup, 92 quarter-final matches have been played. To date there have been a total of 70 victories for the hosts and 22 victories for the outsiders. Last year, Toulouse and Munster accomplished this feat.
In the middle of the collective performances some players stand out. Ulster scrum half John Cooney and Racing 92 center Virimi Vakatawa appear in several statistical categories.
1-Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Sam Simmonds (Exeter), Teddy Thomas (Racing 92): 6 tries.
2- Alivereti Raka, George Moala (Clermont), Romain N’tamack (Toulouse), John Cooney (Ulster): 5 tries
3- Hame Faiva (Benetton), Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92): 4 tries.
1- John Cooney (Ulster): 71 points.
2- Dan Biaggar (Northampton): 68 points.
3- Thomas Ramos (Toulouse): 61 points.
Cumshots with ball
1- CJ Stander (Munster): 120.
2- Marcell Coetze (Ulster): 96.
3- Thomas Ramos (Toulouse): 80.
1- Ollie Thorley (Gloucester), Virimi Vakatawa and Teddy Thomas (Racing 92): 14
2- Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester), Juan Imhoff (Racing 92): 13
3- George Moala (Clermont), James Lowe (Leinster): 11
1- Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92): 39
2- George Moala (Clermont): 27
3- Jordan Larmour (Leinster), Lewis Ludlam (Nortampton), Taqele Naiyaravoro (Northampton): 26