January 17, 2022

Heineken Champions Cup: Sunday’s previews

Marcus Smith and Harlequins, Peter O'Mahony's Munster, and Levani Botia's La Rochelle kick off their European campaigns on Sunday

Marcus Smith and Harlequins, Peter O'Mahony's Munster, and Levani Botia's La Rochelle kick off their European campaigns on Sunday

Marcus Smith and Harlequins, Peter O’Mahony’s Munster, and Levani Botia’s La Rochelle kick off their European campaigns on Sunday

We sit up for Sunday’s 5 Heineken Champions Cup video games as Europe’s prime golf equipment face one another in Spherical 1 for an additional 12 months…

Connacht vs Stade Francais, Sunday 1pm

Certainly one of Sunday’s early kick offs would be the first time Connacht and Stade Francais have met in European competitors, with Stade the 24th totally different French outfit that Connacht have confronted in both the Problem Cup or Heineken Champions Cup.

Connacht are on a four-game shedding streak within the European Cup, which is their worst run since shedding their opening 5 video games within the competitors in 2011/12.

Connacht will look to try and reach the knockout stages of the European Cup for the first time in their history
Connacht will look to try and reach the knockout stages of the European Cup for the first time in their history

Connacht will look to attempt to attain the knockout phases of the European Cup for the primary time of their historical past

Stade Francais are enjoying within the European Cup for the primary time since 2015/16, which was additionally the final time they performed an away sport in opposition to an Irish aspect in Europe, shedding 26-13 to Munster again in January 2016.

Connacht have gained 14 of their final 17 dwelling video games in European competitors, nevertheless two of their three defeats in that point did come of their most up-to-date two video games at The Sportsground.

Connacht averaged probably the most metres gained (575) and most defenders crushed (34) of any aspect within the Problem Cup final season, though their deal with success fee of 77 per cent was the bottom within the competitors.

Ospreys vs Sale Sharks, Sunday 1pm

Ospreys and Sale Sharks have met simply twice earlier than within the Heineken Champions Cup, with the Welsh aspect successful each earlier clashes within the 2006/07 pool stage.

Extra lately, the Ospreys are winless of their final eight matches within the European Cup although, shedding their final seven video games within the competitors and conceding 34 factors per sport throughout these defeats.

Stephen Myler and the Ospreys kick off their European campaign at home to Sale Sharks
Stephen Myler and the Ospreys kick off their European campaign at home to Sale Sharks

Stephen Myler and the Ospreys kick off their European marketing campaign at dwelling to Sale Sharks

Sale have gained simply one among their final eight video games within the European Cup, although that victory did are available in Wales: a 57-14 win in opposition to Scarlets, which was their second-biggest win within the competitors (after 67-11 vs Calvisano, 2006).

Sale made 41 clear breaks in Europe final season, greater than another aspect, with 17 totally different gamers making no less than one break for the Sharks within the marketing campaign.

Can Manu Tuilagi and Sale force a European run this season?
Can Manu Tuilagi and Sale force a European run this season?

Can Manu Tuilagi and Sale power a European run this season?

Ospreys averaged 8.7 turnovers gained per sport within the Problem Cup final season, greater than another aspect, with Morgan Morris and George North each contributing a team-high 4 turnovers every.

Wasps vs Munster, Sunday 3.15pm

Two-time winners Munster head into the weekend – like Cardiff, and Scarlets earlier than the cancellation of their conflict vs Bristol – with preparations severely disrupted as a result of a URC tour to South Africa.

Certainly, Johann van Graan’s aspect have 14 members isolating in South Africa, and an additional 34 gamers and employees isolating in Eire. Because of this, the XV named sees 5 debutants and a possible for seven additional debutants off the bench.

Johann van Graan's Munster have 49 players and staff (14 in SA, 34 in Ireland) in isolation due to their trip to South Africa
Johann van Graan's Munster have 49 players and staff (14 in SA, 34 in Ireland) in isolation due to their trip to South Africa

Johann van Graan’s Munster have 49 gamers and employees (14 in SA, 34 in Eire) in isolation as a result of their journey to South Africa

Wasps and Munster have met 4 instances earlier than within the Heineken Champions Cup, with either side selecting up two wins apiece; although the newest clashes got here in a pair of 2007/08 pool stage video games, each of which have been gained by the house aspect on the day.

Wasps have solely misplaced one among 11 dwelling video games in opposition to Irish opposition within the European Cup (W9, D1), nevertheless that defeat did come of their most up-to-date such fixture (19-37 vs Leinster, January 2019).

Munster have conceded a mean of simply 15 factors per sport on their final six away video games in opposition to Premiership opposition, sufficient for 2 wins and a draw (L3).

Wasps’ deal with success fee of 83 per cent was the bottom of any aspect within the European Cup final season, lacking 64 tackles within the marketing campaign in complete.

Alfie Barbeary is back to start for Wasps at home to Munster
Alfie Barbeary is back to start for Wasps at home to Munster

Alfie Barbeary is again to start out for Wasps at dwelling to Munster

La Rochelle vs Glasgow Warriors, Sunday 3.15pm

La Rochelle and Glasgow have met twice earlier than within the Heineken Champions Cup, each these clashes coming within the pool stage in 2019/20 with the away aspect on the day rising victorious on each events.

Glasgow have gained three of their final 4 away video games in opposition to High 14 opponents within the European Cup, extra victories than they’d managed of their 17 earlier such fixtures (W2, D1, L14).

Ali Price and Glasgow Warriors face a tough task first up, travelling to face La Rochelle
Ali Price and Glasgow Warriors face a tough task first up, travelling to face La Rochelle

Ali Worth and Glasgow Warriors face a troublesome job first up, travelling to face La Rochelle

La Rochelle have reached the knockout phases of Europe in 4 of their final 5 campaigns in both the Problem Cup (Semi-final in 2016/17, Closing in 2018/19) or Heineken Champions Cup (QF in 2017/18, Closing in 2020/21), solely failing to take action within the 2019/20 version of the Champions Cup.

Solely Kurtley Beale (11) made extra clear breaks within the European Cup final season than La Rochelle’s Dillyn Leyds (9), whereas Leyds made 4 line breaks in addition to a competition-high 5 breaks from assist carries.

Will Skelton and La Rochelle made it to the European Cup final last season
Will Skelton and La Rochelle made it to the European Cup final last season

Will Skelton and La Rochelle made it to the European Cup last final season

La Rochelle’s Levani Botia conceded extra penalties (8) than another participant within the European Cup final season – together with a crimson card within the last vs Toulouse. Actually as a staff La Rochelle (54) conceded the third most penalties of any aspect final season (Bordeaux 77, Clermont 56).

Castres vs Harlequins, Sunday 5.30pm

Harlequins have gained their final two clashes with Castres within the Heineken Champions Cup, with that pair of victories coming within the 2014/15 pool stage. The French aspect have been undefeated of their earlier 4 conferences with the Premiership outfit (W3, D1).

Castres are unbeaten at dwelling within the European Cup since January 2015, that final defeat coming by the hands of Harlequins, successful 5 and drawing two of their seven video games since then.

Marcus Smith's Harlequins begin their campaign away to Castres, who haven't lost at home in the European Cup since 2015
Marcus Smith's Harlequins begin their campaign away to Castres, who haven't lost at home in the European Cup since 2015

Marcus Smith’s Harlequins start their marketing campaign away to Castres, who have not misplaced at dwelling within the European Cup since 2015

Castres’ largest win within the European Cup and Harlequins’ greatest defeat got here when the edges met in January 2005 (58-13).

Harlequins have misplaced their final 5 European Cup video games in opposition to High 14 opposition, their final such victory nevertheless got here away from dwelling in opposition to Castres in January 2015.

Quins had the very best deal with (90 per cent) and lineout (96 per cent) success charges in Europe final season, successful 25/26 lineouts on their very own throw and lacking simply 28 tackles throughout their two matches within the competitors.