Take a look at what’s in store as the European Rugby Challenge Cup reaches Round 3 this weekend…
Round 3 Notes
- Gloucester and La Rochelle, who clash in Pool 1 on Thursday, both have a maximum 10 points going into the back-to-back fixtures. The game at Kingsholm will be La Rochelle’s 40th in the Challenge Cup.
- Ospreys, away to Grenoble on Thursday, and Edinburgh who host Stade Français Paris in a key Pool 5 contest at BT Murrayfield on Saturday, are the two other clubs with a maximum 10 points.
- Both unbeaten in Pool 4, Cardiff Blues and Bath go head-to-head at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday. Bath’s Guy Mercer leads the tournament’s tackle statistics with 39, while Rhys Priestland, who misses the upcoming games with a knee injury, is currently top scorer with 37 points.
- Brive, who will be making their 100th Challenge Cup appearance when they play Enisei-STM in Sochi on Saturday, have made the most tackles (327) in the competition this season, and their defence will need to be well-organised when they take on the Pool 3 front runners.
- Pool 5 leaders, Edinburgh, are riding high in the stats categories ahead of the back-to-back matches. They are top in Clean Breaks (33) and Defenders Beaten (54) as well as being top tournament points and try scorers with 95 and 15 respectively.
- If Newcastle register a try against Lyon at the Matmut Stadium on Friday evening it will be their 400th in the competition.
- Ospreys’ Keelan Giles, heads the stats in the Metres Made (259) and Clean Breaks (6) categories, and is the tournament’s top try scorer with five.
- Harlequins, for whom Mike Brown has 31 carries, travel to Romania to meet Timisoara Saracens in Pool 5 on Saturday.
Grenoble v Ospreys
Thursday, 8 December, Kick-off: 20:45, Stade des Alpes
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Ita), Assistant Ref: Matteo Liperini (Ita), Assistant Ref: Simone Boaretto (Ita), TMO: Stefano Penne (Ita), Citing Commissioner: Maurizio Vancini (Ita)
- This will be the first meeting between the clubs. Ospreys won their only other Challenge Cup encounter with TOP 14 opposition in the last round (v Lyon).
- Ospreys’ win against Lyon was their first away to TOP 14 opposition in Europe since 2008 (v Bourgoin); they had lost 10 in a row between those two matches with seven of those defeats coming by fewer than seven points.
- Grenoble have lost five of their six Challenge Cup games against Welsh opposition with their only victory coming in 2000 against Bridgend.
- Grenoble are one of only four clubs who have yet to miss a place kick having landed four from four attempts.
- Ospreys’ wing Keelan Giles has crossed for five tries, the most of any player, and only Bath’s Rhys Priestland (37) has scored more points in the tournament to date.
2016/17 Challenge Cup - Leading Scorers
2016/17 Challenge Cup – Top Performers
Grenoble visit the Liberty Stadium for the return leg of the double header on Saturday 17th December, 3pm KO, for a non-televised fixture. You can buy tickets now, priced from just £20 adults, £5 kids, at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets