Connacht v Leinster in Heineken Cup Rugby – 10 facts to know ahead of Friday night’s Round of 16 first leg at The Sportsground.
It will be Connacht Rugby’s first in the knockout stage of Europe’s premier club rugby competition and their first in the tournament against Leinster Rugby.
Leinster have previously faced both Munster Rugby and Ulster Rugby twice, winning both their games against the latter, but winning one and losing one against the former.
The game kicks off at 20:00 UK and Irish time, and will be broadcast live on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.
Other key facts:
- Connacht have won 56% of their home games in the Heineken Champions Cup (W10 L8), while Leinster have lost just one of their previous nine away games in the competition (23-32 to Stade Rochelais in last year’s semi-final).
- Leinster have won three of their previous seven matches away from home in the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup (W3 L4); only Toulouse and Munster (5 each) have won more knockout games away from home in the competition.
- Connacht have conceded 51 penalties in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup; only Castres Olympique (55) have conceded more. Leinster, by comparison have conceded 27 penalties.
- Leinster have averaged 66 points and 10 tries per game in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup, both competition highs, and more than double Connacht’s averages (30 points and four tries per game).
- Connacht have missed 88 tackles so far in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup, the most of any side. Leinster (37), meanwhile, are one of four sides to have missed fewer than 40.
- Connacht fly-half Jack Carty has made the most kicks in play of any player in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup (60), recording the most kicking meters in the process (2,178).
- Three of the five players to have made more than three try assists in the Heineken Champions Cup this season play for Leinster, with Jamison Gibson-Park recording the joint most (5, level with Billy Burns), one more than teammates Hugo Keenan and Ross Byrne (4 each).
- Only Ulster’s Michael Lowry (8) has made more line breaks in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup than Leinster duo Jimmy O’Brien (7) and James Lowe (6), while no player has averaged more carries (17) per game in this season’s Champions Cup than Leinster’s Jack Conan.
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Connacht hooker Dave Heffernan: “It’s the reason you play the game as a kid – it’s those massive games you dream about playing in. We’re dying to play in front of a packed Sportsground this weekend and we know it’s a special occasion for them, so we want to reward their support with a massive performance.”
Leinster hooker James Tracy: “We’re under no illusion that we’re going into the lion’s den. Going down to Connacht is going to be a tough battle. But we’re going to have a great week’s prep and go firing into it.”