Take a look at what to expect in the European Rugby Challenge Cup this weekend.
With four bonus point wins from four games, the Ospreys sit at the top of Pool 2 with two games to play, knowing that any kind of win against Lyon at the Liberty Stadium this Sunday will secure them not just a place in the last eight, but a home quarter-final.
The Ospreys ran in four tries when they defeated Lyon 31-13 at Matmut Stadium in October, Keelan Giles with a hat-trick before replacement hookerm Sam Parry touched down at the death to clinch the bonus point.
Round 5 Notes
- Since the tournament format was revised in 2014/15, Connacht Rugby are the only pool winner to qualify for the knockout stage with less than 20 points. They topped Pool 1 last season with 19 points.
- In the same period since the 2014/15 season, London Irish’s total of 17 points is the lowest for a best runner-up.
- Brive, who currently top Pool 3 going into Saturday’s match against Worcester Warriors at Stade Amédée Domenech, have reached the knockout stage of the tournament 11 times. Newcastle Falcons are next best with 10 appearances in the knockout stage.
- If high-flying Ospreys, who head Pool 2 with maximum points, defeat Lyon at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, they will be confirmed as pool winners and will also secure a home quarter-final.
- If Harlequins reverse the Round 2 result and manage to defeat Edinburgh Rugby with a bonus point at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday, they will book a place in the quarter-finals for the seventh time.
- Keelan Giles of the Ospreys figures strongly in a number of statistics categories this season leading the way in tries (7), metres made (416) and clean breaks (11).
- In-form La Rochelle, who are strong contenders for a spot in the last eight, have scored 998 points in their 41 matches to date, so their first score at Bayonne on Thursday evening will push them past 1,000 points for the tournament.
- The Benetton Treviso back row, Marco Lazzaroni, is currently the tournament’s top tackler with 57 while Worcester Warriors’, Matt Cox, has the most carries with 63.
- Gloucester Rugby captain, Greig Laidlaw, has accumulated 177 points in his 15 Challenge Cup apperances to date and is closing on the club’s leading tournament scorer Ludovic Mercier, who totalled 196 points.
- Brive’s Taku Ngwenya and the Harlequins duo of Marland Yarde and Mike Brown top the defenders beaten list with 17 apiece.
- Edinburgh Rugby’s Ben Toolis has made the most line out catches with 30.
Ospreys v Lyon
Sunday, 15 January, Kick-off: 15:00, Liberty Stadium
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (Eng), Assistant Ref: Greg Macdonald (Eng), Assistant Ref: Phil Watters (Eng), Citing Commissioner: Tim Lowry (Ire)
- Ospreys have scored 116 points and conceded just three in their two home games this season.
- In 16 games at home against TOP 14 opposition in Europe (both competitions), Ospreys have lost just once (W13, D2) - their first such match v Toulouse in 2004.
- Lyon have won two and lost two so far this season with all four games being decided by a margin greater than 14 points.
- Top try scorer Keelan Giles (7) also tops the charts for metres made (416) and clean breaks (11) this season, despite playing just three games.
- Lyon’s Deon Fourie has won more turnovers (8) than any other player this season, conceding just two himself.
2016/17 Challenge Cup - Leading Scorers
2016/17 Challenge Cup – Top Performers
How clubs qualify for the quarter-finals
The five pool winners and the three best-placed runners-up qualify for the quarter-finals, and will be decided as follows:
(a) The pool winner will be the club with the highest number of match points in each pool. The best-placed runners-up will be the three clubs with the highest number of match points out of the five clubs that finish second in their respective pools. For the quarter-finals, the pool winners will be ranked 1 to 5 and the best-placed runners-up ranked 6th, 7th and 8th by reference to the number of match points earned.
(b) If two clubs in the same pool are equal on match points at the end of the pool stage, then their ranking will be determined by the results of the two matches played between the relevant clubs as follows:
(i) the club with the greater number of match points from the two matches; or
(ii) if equal, the club with the best aggregate points difference from the two matches; or
(iii) if equal, the club that scored the most tries in the two matches.
(c) If ranking remains unresolved and/or if clubs have not played each other previously in the pool stage, qualification/ranking will be determined as follows:
(i) the best aggregate points difference from the pool stage; or
(ii) if equal, the number of tries scored in the pool stage; or
(iii) if equal, the club with the fewest number of players suspended under Disciplinary Rules in the pool stage; or
(iv) if unresolved, by drawing lots.
The clubs ranked 1 to 4 will have home advantage in the quarter-finals as follows:
QF 1: Club 1 v Club 8 QF 2: Club 4 v Club 5
QF 3: Club 3 v Club 6 QF 4: Club 2 v Club 7
NB The format for the semi-final matches in the Challenge Cup recognises performances by clubs during the pool stage as well as the achievement of winning a quarter-final match away from home.
Semi-final 1: winner QF 1 v winner QF 2
Semi-final 2: winner QF 3 v winner QF 4
The following clubs will have home stadium advantage in their respective semi-final matches:
- For Semi-final 1
If the clubs ranked 1 and 4 win their QFs, the club ranked 1 will have home advantage
If the clubs ranked 1 and 5 win their QFs, the club ranked 5 will have home advantage
If the clubs ranked 8 and 4 win their QFs, the club ranked 8 will have home advantage
If the clubs ranked 8 and 5 win their QFs, the club ranked 5 will have home advantage
- For Semi-final 2
If the clubs ranked 3 and 2 win their QFs, the club ranked 2 will have home advantage
If the clubs ranked 3 and 7 win their QFs, the club ranked 7 will have home advantage
If the clubs ranked 6 and 2 win their QFs, the club ranked 6 will have home advantage
If the clubs ranked 6 and 7 win their QFs, the club ranked 6 will have home advantage