Sunday's match between the Ospreys and Clermont Auvergne (KO 12.45), will be the 1,000th fixture in Heineken Cup history.
The competition has come a long way since the first game in the tournament was played on 31 October, 1995, in Romania, with Toulouse beating Farul Constanta 54-10. Now in its 15th year, the competition goes from strength to strength, with the Paris 2010 final at Stade de France on Saturday, 22 May set to be the biggest and best yet.
Leinster joined an elite group of just nine clubs to have lifted the trophy when they defeated previous champions Leicester Tigers at Murrayfield back in May, with the other former champions being Toulouse, Munster, Brive, Bath Rugby, Ulster Rugby, London Wasps and Northampton Saints.
As the milestone approaches, we take a look at some interesting stats and facts from the first fifteen years of the Heineken Cup…
HEINEKEN CUP MATCH MILESTONES
100th game Bourgoin 18, NEC Harlequins 30 (27.09.97)
200th game Pontypridd 22, Colomiers 14 (26.11.99)
300th game Stade Français 40, London Wasps 10 (21.10.00)
400th game Leicester Tigers 54, Perpignan 15 (03.11.01)
500th game Leicester Tigers 7, Munster 20 (13.04.03)
600th game NEC Harlequins 23, Castres Olympique 23 (30.10.04)
700th game Sale Sharks 35, Castres Olympique 3 (16.12.05)
800th game Ospreys 22, Stade Français Paris 22 (14.01.07)
900th game Munster 19, Montauban 17 (10.10.08)
1,000th game OSPREYS V ASM CLERMONT AUVERGNE (18.10.09)
STATS & FACTS
The Ospreys first ever Heineken Cup match was on Sunday 7th December, when Leeds Carnegie won 29-20 at Headingley.
Toulouse hold the record for most cup final wins with three.
Last weekend’s 32-32 draw against Leicester at Welford Road was the highest scoring drawn game in the history of the tournament.
Soane Tongauhia, the Tongan international prop who plays for Northampton Saints, is the heaviest player registered for this season’s Heineken Cup at 147kg. That’s 23st 2lb, and makes him more than 12 stone heavier than the lightest men in the competition, French scrum-halves Nicolas Bezy (Toulouse), Yann Lesgourges (Biarritz) and Dave Mele (Perpignan).
Seremaia Baikeinuku of Clermont Auvergne became the tournment’s oldest try scorer last weekend when, aged 34 Years & 280 Days, he touched down against Viadana. The youngest try scorer is Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), who scored on the same day against Harlequins, aged 20 Years & 292 Days.
With 195 points to his credit, James Hook is the Ospreys all-time top scorer in the Heineken Cup. Shane Williams tops the Ospreys try scorers list with 13, including one during last weekend’s draw at Leicester.
The Ospreys are unbeaten in their last 10 Heineken Cup matches at the Liberty Stadium, dating back to January 14th 2006, when they defeated this weekend’s visitors Clermont Auvergne 26-12.
Belgium will become the 10th country to stage Heineken Cup rugby when Stade Francais meet Ulster at the King Baudoin Stadium in Brussels during December.
Leinster lock Devin Toner is the tallest player in the competition, standing 2.10m/6ft 11in.
No player scored more than two tries in the inaugural season of 1995/6, but just a year later, Brive winger Sebastian Carrat claimed 10 tries in one Heineken Cup season, including four in one game against Neath, and two in Brive’s Final victory against Leicester.
Llanelli, Pau and Calvisano hold the record for the most red cards in the history of the Heineken Cup, with three apiece.
The Ospreys record Heineken Cup victory, last season’s 68-8 win over Benetton Treviso, also saw them score a record number of tries (10).
The Ospreys have scored 820 Heineken Cup points in 39 games to date, conceding 789. In that time, they have scored 81 tries, conceding 77.