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Connacht Rugby have a proud home record to defend in the Heineken Champions Cup when they take on Gallagher Premiership leaders Leicester Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
Connacht have lost only two of their last nine home games in the competition, winning seven. However, their last home defeat came against Premiership opposition, losing 27-18 to Bristol Bears in Round 2 last season.
The Pool B encounter kicks off at The Sportsground at 3.15pm and is available to watch on beIN Sports and BT Sport.
Other key facts:
- The only previous Heineken Champions Cup meeting between Connacht and Leicester took place during Round 2 this season, with the Tigers winning 29-23 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
- Leicester have won their opening two games in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, the first time they have managed to win consecutive games in the competition since a run of five straight victories during the pool stage in 2015/16.
- Leicester have made 106 kicks from hand in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, over 40 more than any other side, gaining the most metres from their kicks in the process (3,723). Meanwhile, Connacht have made the third most kicks (57) and gained the second most kicking metres (2,142).
- Connacht’s Jack Carty has assisted three tries in his two Heineken Champions Cup appearances this season, the joint most of any player alongside Racing 92’s Finn Russell.
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Winger Hosea Saumaki handed Leicester Tigers a dramatic 29-28 win at Connacht Rugby in the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday as he scored in the final play of the game.
Leicester trailed 28-10 early in the second-half as Connacht produced some excellent attacking rugby, but the Gallagher Premiership leaders hit back with three tries to snatch an incredible victory in Pool B and book their place in the Round of 16.
Leicester got off to the ideal start on their first competitive visit to The Sportsground, with prop Joe Heyes the beneficiary of a well-constructed maul as he dotted down for the game’s opening try.
And the visitors would command the opening stages, going over for their second try on nine minutes as a smart set-play saw fly-half Freddie Burns float a kick into the hands of winger Kini Murimurivalu, who finished convincingly.
Connacht rallied, though, as a rumbling maul of their own set the foundations before the ball was shipped inside, with full-back Tiernan O’Halloran diving over under the posts for the Irish province’s opening score.
A second Connacht try would come on 28 minutes as a beautifully disguised offload by British and Irish Lions centre Bundee Aki unlocked the Leicester defence and sent flanker Cian Prendergast over.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 15, 2022
Jack Carty missed an early penalty, but the Connacht fly-half’s two conversions proved the difference between the two teams at the break.
The hosts started the second half in the ascendancy and immediately set up camp on the Leicester line, with the away side’s flanker Tommy Reffell sent to the sin bin for a denying a score with an infringement.
Moments later Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion spotted the gap in the Tigers rearguard and squirmed over for his side’s third try.
With Leicester down to 14 men, Connacht exerted further control over the contest and crossed for a bonus point score on 48 minutes through O’Halloran’s second try of the game – he finished excellently after a flowing backs move.
Another one ☝
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) January 15, 2022
Once back to their full complement, momentum would swing back in Leicester’s favour, as Murimurivalu went over for his second try of the day after some terrific running rugby saw the visitors run from inside their own half.
Leicester upped the intensity further and notched their own bonus point score when replacement hooker Charlie Clare crossed at the back of a trundling maul, with Burns’ conversion leaving them four points adrift with just over five minutes to play.
And Steve Borthwick’s men would snatch victory in the final play of the game as Saumaki did superbly to finish in the corner under immense pressure and keep his side’s 100%-win record in Europe this season intact.
Leicester host Union Bordeaux-Bègles in Round 4 while Connacht travel to Stade Francais Paris.