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Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final between Leicester Tigers and Leinster Rugby is building up into an epic confrontation, with little to separate the teams beforehand.
While Leinster have won six of their previous 11 Heineken Champions Cup matches against Leicester, including a victory in the 2008/09 final (19-16), they have won just one of their four matches at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, losing the other three.
You can watch this mouthwatering tie on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS, with kick-off at 17:30.
Other key stats:
- Leicester have won three of their last four knockout stage fixtures in the Heineken Champions Cup after previously losing four in a row. They have not conceded 20+ points in any game during that period.
- Leicester have won their last two fixtures against Irish opposition in the Heineken Champions Cup after previously losing four in a row. Two of their last three games against Irish sides have been decided by a single point.
- Leinster have won five of their last six quarter-final fixtures in the Heineken Champions Cup, including their most recent, which came away against Premiership opposition (34-22 v Exeter Chiefs last season).
- Leinster have won their last seven away games in England in the Heineken Champions Cup, by an average margin of 23 points, after winning none of the previous four (D1 L3). They recorded their biggest away win in the competition during their last trip to England, 64-7 against Bath Rugby in January this year.
- No side have attempted more kicks from open play in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup than Leicester (204). Consequently, they have also made more kicking meters than any other side in this season’s competition (6,884).
- Of clubs remaining in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup, no side have scored more points in the last 20 minutes of games than Leinster (59) or Leicester (47). Additionally, only Racing 92 (3) have conceded fewer points in the final quarter of matches this season than Leicester (10).
- No side have scored more tries originating from lineouts in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup than Leinster (18) or Leicester (13), with 68% of Leicester’s tries this season having come from a lineout, the highest ratio of any side in the competition.
- Leicester’s Tommy Reffell is one of just three players to make 70+ tackles in the Heineken Champions Cup this season (76). Meanwhile, Leinster’s Ronan Kelleher is one of just four players to make 30+ tackles without missing in the competition this season (34/34).
- Leinster’s James Lowe is the top try-scorer in the Heineken Champions Cup this season (8), while teammates Hugo Keenan, Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne have made the joint most try assists this campaign.
They've met 4 times in #HeinekenChampionsCup knockouts, both winning twice…
But 2005 was the last time Tigers won – will that change this weekend? 👀 pic.twitter.com/AXC8pmpYAk
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) May 5, 2022
Steve Borthwick (Leicester head coach): “I think everybody knows what a great team Leinster are and the incredible record they have in Europe. It is an organisation with incredible resources and depth.”
Stuart Lancaster (Leinster senior coach): “Leicester are probably international quality in every position in my opinion. It’s not dissimilar from our team. They have got a lot of experienced players. It’s going to be one of the special European games for sure.”
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Leinster booked a home Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against reigning champions Stade Toulousain after overcoming Leicester Tigers 23-14 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday.
The Irish province, who will play at Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium next weekend, got the bulk of the job done in the first half as Josh van der Flier and Robbie Henshaw crossed for tries in addition to two Johnny Sexton penalties.
Leicester attempted to battle back in the second half and got over through Chris Ashton and Nic Dolly, but the visitors were largely in control and saw the game out.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) May 7, 2022
Leinster flew out of the blocks and notched a try on 15 minutes as flanker van der Flier powered his way over, adding to fly-half Sexton’s early penalty.
Their lead was extended on 22 minutes when centre Henshaw barreled over, leaving a disjointed Leicester side stunned.
The hosts searched for a way back into the game but struggled for accuracy in possession, and they were further condemned by a strong Leinster side as Sexton nudged another penalty over the posts on 36 minutes.
But Leicester started the second half in the ascendancy, and a powerful lineout drive set the platform for their first try of the game, wing Ashton diving over in the corner to give the hosts a sniff of a comeback.
So, it's Jamison Gibson-Park versus Antoine Dupont next week… 🍿👀
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) May 7, 2022
Tigers continued to probe and saw replacement wing Nemani Nadolo held up over the line on 53 minutes, but Leinster would be next to register points on 65 minutes as replacement fly-half Ross Byrne knocked over another penalty.
Leicester had opportunities to reduce the deficit further, but Leinster’s scrum reigned supreme at crucial moments.
And although Leicester crossed late on through replacement hooker Dolly, Leinster would march into the last four off the back of an assured display.