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European Rugby Champions Cup: Semi-final previews


In advance of this weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals, which sees three Aviva Premiership Rugby sides in action, here are some key statistics from the tournament.

The Madejski Stadium will be hosting a European Cup semi-final for the second time. In 2000, Northampton Saints beat Llanelli Scarlets 31-28 before going on to take the title. 

The City Ground, Nottingham will also be staging a game in European club rugby's elite tournament for the second time. In the 2002 semi-final, Leicester Tigers famously defeated Llanelli Scarlets 13-12 thanks to a last minute penalty from 58 metres by Tim Stimpson which bounced off both crossbar and post before dropping over. 

TOP 14 clubs have a 59% success rate in European Cup semi-finals. Out of 32 matches, French teams have won 19. 

This will be the third time that England has hosted both European Cup semi-finals. In 2007, Leicester Tigers and Wasps reached the final, but in 2008 the two English clubs were defeated – Saracens by Munster and London Irish by Toulouse. 

There have been eight tournament semi-finals to date between TOP 14 and Premiership clubs with the leagues level on four wins apiece. 

The rival coaching teams for the Leicester Tigers v Racing 92 semi-final have strong links to the European Cup. Both Laurent Travers and Ronan O'Gara of Racing, as well as Leicester's Geordan Murphy, are previous tournament winners, while Richard Cockerill was a losing finalist against Travers' Brive in 1997. 

Ten of the last 12 semi-finals in Europe's top flight have been won by clubs with home country advantage. 

Chris Ashton is now third on the tournament's all-time try scoring list with 31 behind Vincent Clerc (36) and Brian O'Driscoll (33). He has been on the losing side in two European Cup finals with Northampton Saints in 2011 and Saracens in 2014.

Fourteen of the 40 semi-finals have been won by the 'away' club – a 35% success rate. On only two occasions have both designated 'away' clubs been victorious – in 2008 and '09. 

Racing 92's Chris Masoe and Martin Castrogiovanni, who both won the title with RC Toulon, are in line to join an elite group of five players who have had European Cup success with two clubs. The double winners to date are: Philippe Carbonneau (Toulouse and Brive), Cedric Heymans (Brive and Toulouse), Federico Mendez (Bath and Northampton), Frederic Michalak (Toulouse and Toulon), Eoin Reddan (Wasps and Leinster). 

317 tries at an average of five per game have been scored in this season's Champions Cup to date, while a total of 2,792 points have been racked up at an average of just under 47 per game. 

Owen Farrell of Saracens is currently the tournament top scorer with 92 points, and Leicester's Vereniki Goneva is joint top try scorer on five with Exeter Chiefs' Thomas Waldrom.

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