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Saracens welcome Cardiff in tantalising match-up

Friday 15th April 2022

11:00 am (GMT)

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Saracens welcome Cardiff in tantalising match-up

Alex Goode in EPCR Challenge Cup action for Saracens

Saracens host Cardiff Rugby in the EPCR Challenge Cup Round of 16 on Sunday, in what is a first-time clash in the competition.

History suggests there’s little to choose between the two sides when it comes to European competition – they have met four times in the European Cup, the Welsh region winning their two pool stage encounters in 2000/01 before Saracens did the same in 2018/19.

Saracens qualified for the knockout stage by finishing third in EPCR Challenge Cup Pool C, while Cardiff finished ninth in Heineken Champions Cup Pool B, missing out on qualification for the knockout stage of that competition on points difference.

The match at StoneX Stadium kicks off at 13:00 (UK & Irish time) and is available to stream on epcrugby.tv.

Other key facts:

  • Saracens have lost only three of their 31 home games in the EPCR Challenge Cup (W28); however, they lost their most recent home game against a team from Wales, against Pontypridd in the quarter-finals in January 2002.
  • Saracens have won 14 of their last 17 games in the EPCR Challenge Cup (losing three), with those 14 victories coming by an average margin of 25 points.
  • Cardiff have lost seven of their last nine away games against Premiership opposition in the EPCR Challenge Cup (winning two) – but they still managed to score more than 20 points in seven of those nine games.
  • Each of Cardiff’s last five games against Premiership opposition in the EPCR Challenge Cup has been won by the side trailing at half-time, with the Welsh side winning two and losing three of those matches.
  • 56% (5/9) of Cardiff’s tries in European competition this season have come in the opening 20 minutes of their matches. No other side has scored more than 40% of their tries in the same period in 2021/22.
  • Saracens have averaged the most carries per game in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season (131) and averaged the most carry metres per game in the process (822); Saracens also rank top for both possession (57%) and territory (66%) this season.
  • Saracens have completed 72% of their rucks in under three seconds in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season, the best rate of any team, with only Benetton (2.81) recording a quicker average ruck speed than Saracens (2.98) this campaign.
  • Cardiff’s Seb Davies has made six offloads in European competition this season, only two forwards have made more in 2021/22 – Gregory Alldritt (11) and Nick Timoney (7).
  • Ivan van Zyl (Saracens) has made 179 passes in the EPCR Challenge Cup this season, more than any other player, while his teammate Alex Goode has made the most break assist passes (4).

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Maitland double as Saracens see off Cardiff

Sunday 17th April 2022

3:05 pm (GMT)

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Maitland double as Saracens see off Cardiff

Sean Maitland dots down for Saracens' second try against Cardiff

Wing Sean Maitland scored a try brace as Saracens beat Cardiff Rugby 40-33 at StoneX Stadium on Sunday to set up an EPCR Challenge Cup quarter-final at Gloucester Rugby.

Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell exchanged penalties with Cardiff counterpart Rhys Priestland over much of the first half, with the hosts leading 9-6 heading into the final five minutes.

The game then sprung into life as Dominic Morris dotted down for Saracens before Tomos Williams hit back for Cardiff in the final play of the half, leaving the Gallagher Premiership outfit with a three-point advantage at the break.

Priestland was off target with a penalty five minutes into the second half, but Cardiff took the lead when Owen Lane dived over following a smart break from Williams.

Maitland then crossed for his quick-fire double, but another Priestland penalty kept the visitors within two points with 20 minutes to play.

Saracens took control, though, as Aled Davies and then Max Malins bagged tries, but a Rhys Carre score on 75 minutes handed Cardiff a lifeline as they reduced the deficit to just seven points.

But Saracens held on and booked a trip to Kingsholm in the last eight in three weeks’ time.

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