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Bernard Jackman’s men have won one and lost one this season, and are currently sitting in joint second in Pool 1 – see the latest tables HERE 

We take a closer look at the state of play in the European Challenge Cup and focus on the latest games in Pool 1…

Pool 1: Northampton vs Dragons 
When: Saturday, December 8
Venue: Franklin’s Gardens

Kick-off: 3pm local time 

Referee: Thomas Charabas (Fra), 
Assistant Referee 1: Tual Trainini (Fra), 
Assistant Referee 2: Arnaud Blondel (Fra)
Citing Commissioner: Alberto Recaldini (Ita)

MATCH FACTS:

  • This will be just the second meeting between Northampton Saints and Dragons in Europe after their Round 2 clash this season, which Saints won 35-21.
  • This will be the first time Northampton have hosted Welsh opposition in the Challenge Cup since the inaugural season of the competition in 1996/97, when Saints beat Dunvant 48-32 at Franklin’s Gardens.
  • The Dragons won away at Timisoara Saracens in Round 1 and now have the opportunity to win consecutive away games for the first time since 2014/15 when they won all three of their pool stage away games.
  • Northampton Saints are the only side yet to miss a kick at goal this European season, slotting all eight of their attempts to date.
  • Saints’ Cobus Reinach has won four turnovers in his two appearances this season, more than any other player.

TOURNAMENT RECORD:
Northampton Saints: P33 W26 D0 L7 
Points For 1091 Points Conceded 557
Biggest win 63 (v Bristol Rugby 2017/18)
Heaviest defeat -30 (v Connacht Rugby 1997/98)

Dragons: P56 W32 D0 L24 
Points For 1587 Points against 1160
Biggest win 56 (v Bucharest Wolves 2014/15)
Heaviest defeat 33 (v Sale Sharks 2015/16)

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD:
19.10.18 – Dragons 21-35 Northampton Saints

Pool 1 - Timisoara Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
When: Saturday, December 8
Venue: Dan Paltinisanu Stadium
Kick-off: 12.30pm local time

Referee: Craig Evans (Wal)
Assistant Referee 1: Mike English (Wal)
Assistant Referee 2: Andy Davies (Wal)
Citing Commissioner: Beth Dickens (Sco)

MATCH FACTS:

  • This will be the second meeting between Timisoara Saracens and ASM Clermont Auvergne, with the Top14 side having eased to a 70-12 victory in Round 2.
  • Clermont have won 17 of their last 19 Challenge Cup games, with both defeats in that run coming in the knockout stages.
  • Timisoara are still searching for their first victory in the Challenge Cup, however they have already scored more points this season (29) than they did in their previous campaign (26).
  • Clermont’s Peceli Yato is the top try scorer after two round this season, crossing four times in total, including two against Timisoara in Round 2.

TOURNAMENT RECORD

Clermont ASM: P56 W43 D0 L13
Points For 2026 Points Against 947
Biggest win 84 (v Aberavon in 1998/99)
Heaviest defeat 19 (v Beziers 2000/01)

Timisoara Saracens P8 W0 L8
Points for 55 Points conceded 404
Biggest win: N/A
Heaviest defeat: 72 (v Harlequins 2016/17)

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD: 
20.10.18 – Clermont Auvergne 70-12 Timisoara Saracens

EUROPEAN ROUND-UP

  • Three clubs – ASM Clermont Auvergne (Pool 1), Sale Sharks (Pool 3) and La Rochelle (Pool 4) have a maximum 10 points after two rounds
  • Worcester Warriors also have two wins and top Pool 2 with nine points.
  • La Rochelle fly half, Maxime Lafaga, is currently the tournament’s top scorer with 37 points from 16 conversions and one try 
  • Clermont’s Fiji international, Peceli Yato, leads the try scoring charts with four from two matches.
  • If Sale Sharks’ Chris Ashton scores a try against Bordeaux on Saturday, he will become the first player in history to reach a total of 50 tries in both competitions in Europe.
  • Zebre centre and captain Tommaso Castello has the most carries to date with 33.
  • Romaric Camou of La Rochelle leads the metres made (359), clean breaks (10) and defenders beaten (25). The 22-year-old full back has also scored three tries. 
  •  The Ensei-STM back row, Mikheil Gachechiladze, has made the most tackles to date with an impressive 41.
  • If Stade Francais Paris fly half, Jules Plisson, is selected on Saturday he will equal Pierre Rabadan’s club record of 34 appearances in the Challenge Cup.In order to assist with its stakeholders’ forward planning, EPCR is pleased to announce the key dates for the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season.

KEY EUROPEAN DATES CONFIRMED FOR 19/20 

As Rugby World Cup 2019 takes centre stage next autumn, EPCR’s tournaments will get underway later than usual with the kick-off scheduled for mid-November just under a fortnight after the World Cup final in Yokohama on 2 November 2019. 

The tournaments will then revert to their customary weekends in December 2019 and January 2020 with the quarter-finals and semi-finals set for early April and early May respectively. 

As previously confirmed, the 2020 finals celebrating the culmination of the 25th season of European professional club rugby will be staged in Marseille on the weekend of 22/23 May.

EPCR weekends – 2019/20 season

Round 1: 15/16/17 November 2019

Round 2: 22/23/24 November 2019

Round 3: 6/7/8 December 2019

Round 4: 13/14/15 December 2019

Round 5: 10/11/12 January 2020

Round 6: 17/18/19 January 2020

Quarter-finals: 3/4/5 April 2020

Semi-finals: 1/2/3 May 2020

2020 finals – Stade de Marseille

Challenge Cup final – Friday 22 May

Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 23 May

Dragons return to Rodney Parade for the final Welsh derby of 2018 against the Ospreys on December 30. 

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Friday December 21

Cardiff Blues

GP14

Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

KO 7:35 PM

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