Dragons will be looking to build on the last home game – when they defeated Ospreys – and build crucial momentum before the Guinness PRO14 resumes later this month.
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: Dragons vs Timisoara Saracens
When: Friday, January 11
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 7.30pm local time
Referee: Ludovic Cayre (Fra)
Assistant Referee 1: Jonathan Dufort (Fra)
Assistant Referee 2: Nicolas Datas (Fra)
Citing Commissioner: James Hall (Eng)
- This will be just the second meeting between the Dragons and Timisoara Saracens after their Round 1 clash this season which Dragons won 54-17.
- The Dragons have hosted Romanian opposition on two previous occasions, beating Bucharest Wolves in 2006/07 and 2014/15 with both victories coming by over 50 points – their two biggest winning margins in Europe.
- The Dragons have won 11 of their last 13 home games, although they did lose their most recent home fixture against Northampton Saints in Round 3 this season.
- Timisoara have averaged the least amount of time in possession this season (12 minutes, 2 seconds) and as a result have made the fewest carries of any side (70 per game).
- The Dragons’ Josh Lewis has slotted 93% (14/15) of his kicks at goal this season, and of platers to attempt 10+ shots at goal only Clermont’s Pato Fernandez (10/10) has a better rate than the Dragons fly half.
Dragons: P58 W32 D0 L26
Points For 1625 Points against 1208
Biggest win 56 (v Bucharest Wolves 2014/15)
Heaviest defeat 34 (v Northampton Saints 2018/19)
Timisoara Saracens P10 W0 L10
Points for 69 Points conceded 479
Biggest win: N/A
Heaviest defeat: 72 (v Harlequins 2016/17)
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD:
13.10.18 – Timisoara Saracens 17-54 Dragons
Pool 1 – ASM Clermont Auvergne vs Northampton Saints
When: Saturday, January 12
Venue: Stade Marcel-Michelin
Kick-off: 8pm local time
Referee: John Lacey (Ire)
Assistant Referee 1: Frank Murphy (Ire)
Assistant Referee 2: Jonny Erskine (Ire)
Citing Commissioner: Richard McGhee (Sco)
- ASM Clermont Auvergne and Northampton Saints have met six times in Europe overall with the Top14 side claiming victory in five of those games, including their only Challenge Cup meeting in Round 1 this season.
- Clermont are the only club with a maximum 20-point record after four games this season.
- Clermont have won all 27 of their Challenge Cup home games, 21 of those victories coming by more than 10 points.
- Northampton have the best lineout success rate this season (95%) while Clermont have the second best rate (94%).
- Pato Fernandez has slotted all 10 kicks at goal for Clermont this season, no other player has attempted as many without missing at least once.
Northampton Saints: P35 W28 D0 L7
Points For 1167 Points Conceded 571
Biggest win 63 (v Bristol Rugby 2017/18)
Heaviest defeat -30 (v Connacht Rugby 1997/98)
Clermont ASM: P58 W45 D0 L13
Points For 2122 Points Against 985
Biggest win 84 (v Aberavon in 1998/99)
Heaviest defeat 19 (v Beziers 2000/01)
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD:
13.10.18 – Northampton Saints 20-41 Clermont Auvernge
- Pool 1 leaders and 1999 and 2007 tournament winners, ASM Clermont Auvergne are the only club in either the Challenge Cup or Heineken Champions Cup to have registered a maximum 20 points from four matches.
- If Clermont defeat Northampton Saints at Stade Marcel-Michelin on Saturday evening, they will be confirmed as Pool 1 winners.
- If 2002 and 2005 tournament winners, Sale Sharks, manage to pull off a victory against Connacht Rugby at the Sportsground on Saturday in Pool 3, they will also book a place in the knockout stages.
- Since the new Challenge Cup was introduced in the 2014/15 season, the average total of match points required to qualify as best runner-up for the knockout stages is 20.25.
- The highest total for a best runner-up is 24 points (Cardiff Blues 2014/15, La Rochelle 2016/17) while the lowest is 17 (London Irish 2015/16, Brive and Stade Francais 2017/18).
- Enisei-STM’s Mikheil Gachechiladze is the leading tackler with 74 and the top carrier with 53.
- Zebre Rugby’s Carlo Canna is this season’s top points scorer with 54 while Sale’s Chris Ashton and Apisai Naqalevu of Clermont both have five tries apiece. Ashton has a combined total of 51 tries in both European competitions.
- Cameron Woki, the emerging Bordeaux-Begles back row, has won the most lineouts with 28, including five steals.
- Pool 4 leaders La Rochelle have made the most offloads with an impressive 68 to date.
- Agen’s Facundo Bosch and Zebre captain, Tommaso Castello, have made the most offloads with 8 apiece.
- Peter Bentham of Clermont leads the clean breaks stats category with 12.