Category: European Rugby Champions Cup

Statistical analysis: Leinster’s path to the Champions Cup final

Leinster head into Saturday’s European Rugby Champions Cup final with an unbeaten tournament record, and comfortably the best per-game points difference (+14.5) and try difference (+2.0) of all teams in the competition. This average margin of victory dwarfs that of their opponents Racing 92 – who have averaged +4.9 points and +0.8 tries per 80 mins on their way to a 6-2 record – and was achieved despite drawing three very strong opponents in the pool stage. Exeter, Glasgow and Montpellier each top their respective domestic league tables at the end of the 2017-18 regular season, but were defeated home and away by the Irish province; only one of Leinster’s six pool victories (Round 4 at home to Exeter) came by fewer than 7 points.

Saracens and Scarlets – defending Champions Cup and Pro12 champions respectively – were no more successful in their visits to Dublin, and after 11- and 14-point victories at the quarter- and semi-final stages only Racing stand in the way of a perfect season for Leinster in Europe’s premier club competition.

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Northampton Saints vs. Scarlets, 23 Jan 16

Northampton sent the Scarlets to their sixth ERCC pool defeat of the season at Parc y Scarlets on a sodden January evening last Saturday, and ensured that they remained in the running for a place in the knockout rounds. Other results fell their way over the weekend, and as a result they will face Saracens in an away quarter final in April. Despite achieving a attacking bonus point, it wasn’t a convincing performance from their misfiring backline – they managed to keep the Welsh region at arm’s length with harrying defensive effort, effective work at the maul in both attack and defence and opportunism when try-scoring chances arose.

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