Champions Cup Round 1 preview

This weekend sees the 2017/18 European Rugby Champions Cup get underway, with the Ospreys hosting 2016/17 runners-up and French champions, Clermont Auvergne on Sunday.

Pool 2: Ospreys v ASM Clermont Auvergne 

Sunday, 15 October, Kick-off: 5:30pm, Liberty Stadium

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ire), Assistant Ref: Nigel Correll (Ire), Assistant Ref: Mark Patton (Ire), TMO: Simon McDowell (Ire), Citing Commissioner: Wade Dooley (Eng)


Match facts 

  • The clubs have met six times previously with the home side on the day winning each of those six encounters.
  • The Ospreys have won their last three home games in the Champions Cup - the last time they went on a longer such run was between 2007 to 2011 (W13).
  • Clermont have won six of their last seven games against Welsh opposition, although their one defeat in that run did come in their most recent such fixture against the Ospreys in January 2016.
  • Clermont’s next try will be their 300th in the Champions Cup; they scored 33 last season, the highest total by the club in a single campaign.
  • Osprey’s Dan Biggar is just three points away from becoming the 10th player to score 500 points in the European Cup.


Round 1 Notes

  • Nine previous tournament winners are competing for honours in this the 23rd season of European club rugby.

  • More than 37,000 tickets have already been sold for the 2018 Bilbao finals in the 53,000-capacity San Mamés Stadium. Champions Cup sales alone are over 26,000.

  • La Rochelle have qualified for the first time and will open their campaign against Harlequins at The Stoop on Saturday.

  • Holders Saracens are aiming to become the second club to win the title three seasons in a row. RC Toulon accomplished the feat in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

  • This season’s competing clubs have a total of 28 European titles between them.

  • Last season’s top scorer and EPCR European Player of the Year, Owen Farrell of Saracens, needs just four points to reach 600 for the tournament.

  • Leinster Rugby’s first try this season will be their 400th in the tournament.

  • The following players named in this season’s tournament squads have the most European Cup appearances to date:
    • 83 Benjamin Kayser (ASM Clermont Auvergne 48, Castres 5, Leicester 14, Stade Francais 16)
    • 82 Vincent Clerc (RC Toulon 0, Toulouse 82)
    • 73 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens 49, Sale 24)
    • 70 Aurélien Rougerie (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
      69 Andrew Trimble (Ulster Rugby), Yannick Nyanga (Racing 9, Toulouse 58, Beziers 2)
  • Clermont’s first try this season will be their 300th in the tournament.

  • Ospreys’ Dan Biggar needs three points to reach 500 for the tournament.

  • Munster Rugby have played the most matches with 158 (109 wins, 1 draw and 48 defeats).

  • Harlequins’ Round 1 match against La Rochelle will be their 75th in the tournament.
  • Morgan Parra of Clermont needs eight points to reach 400 for the tournament.