Ahead of the round-of-16 in the Champions Cup, Planet Rugby highlights the key statistics and facts as we enter the tournament’s knockout stages.
Former winners and newbies
The Champions Cup welcomed the addition of the South African teams this season.
None of the three new teams managed to win all their pool games, but the Sharks and Stormers won three out of four to secure home round-of-16 ties while the Bulls face the challenge of an away trip to France.
The trio are joined in the knockouts by eight former tournament winners in Exeter Chiefs, Leicester Tigers, Leinster Rugby, Munster Rugby, Saracens, Stade Rochelais, Stade Toulousain and Ulster Rugby.
Of the 16 teams, they have 27 EPCR (Champions Cup and Challenge Cup) titles between them.
Fast fact: Interestingly, home advantage has meant little this season, with the home team winning 12 of the 24 games in the tournament.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) March 27, 2023
Team stat leaders
Former winners and last season’s finalist Leinster breezed through the pool stages, winning all four games with bonus points. They were the only team to collect the maximum 20 points, with Pool B winners and the current holders La Rochelle racking up the following best of 18.
Unsurprisingly, Leinster topped the points scored in the pool stages scoring 184 points and also conceded the least in 34 – their +150 points differential is the best in the tournament.
Exeter Chiefs were the next best scorers with 139 points, and Toulouse, the next best defence conceding 53 points.
The Irish province also conceded the least amount of tries, five, and scored the most, 28.
They made more passes (710), carries (563), beat the most defenders (98), made the most clean breaks (43), gained the most metres (1,979), and crossed the gainline (302) more times than any other team.
In fact, the one attacking stat that they did not top was offloads, with Leo Cullen’s side completing the fourth most in the tournament (39). The Sharks (45), Stormers (51) and Toulouse (57) all bettered Leinster’s tally.
Meanwhile, Leicester Tigers have been one of the most disciplined sides in the tournament conceding just 36 penalties, six fewer than the next-lowest tally from Harlequins. Richard Wigglesworth’s side conceded just eight penalties in attack and 28 in defence.
La Rochelle and Toulouse have bossed the breakdown, with the former winning 38 turnovers and the latter 37.
Toulouse also boasts the best lineout success rate of 94 per cent.
Fast fact: Exeter Chiefs (480) are a tough team to defend, as they have gained more metres in contact than any other side.
Individual stat leaders
While Leinster have scored more points than any other team, La Rochelle have produced the tournament’s top points scorer in Antoine Hastoy.
The fly-half tops the charts with 50 points, with the Sharks’ Curwin Bosch in second with 35 – despite playing one fewer game than Hastoy.
As for tries, Josh van der Flier has scored five in four games for Leinster and is closely followed by four players who have all scored four. Saracens have two entries in Ben Earl and Elliot Daly, Montpellier has one in Thomas Darmon, and Gavin Coombes has scored four for Munster.
Caealn Doris has the most try assists (five) while his teammate Andrew Porter is the most penalised player in the Champions Cup (8).
Montpellier’s Zach Mercer is clearly the tournament’s busiest carrier making 78 in total, 14 more than Edinburgh’s Villiame Mata in second place.
Harlequins’ Nick David and the Bulls’ Wandisile Simelane have gained the joint-most metres (340). David has also beaten the most defenders (20).
Stormers’ utility Damian Willemse leads the way in offloads, having completed 10 in total, while one of his opponents this weekend, Cadan Murley, leads the linebreak stat with Clermont’s Bautista Delguy (7).
Coombes has made an impressive 67 tackles to go with his 57 carries and four tries, while Quins’ flanker Will Evans has made nine turnovers – the most in the Champions Cup.
Meanwhile, Antoine Dupont has made the most kicks in the Champions Cup (54) and has the most kicking metres (1,482). However, Sharks scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse has more kicks that have been retained by his side (14), than any other player.
Fast fact: Toulouse lock Emmanuel Meafou has made the most dominant tackles (7).
Ronan O’Gara looks set to hold onto his all-time record for points scored in the competition this season. The Munster legend scored 1,365 during his career, with the only current active player being Owen Farrell on 814.
Chris Ashton has the opportunity to extend his lead at the top of the most tries chart as he looks to add to his current tally of 41. Munster’s Simon Zebo (34) is closest to his record.
As for appearances, O’Gara’s 110 is not under threat for now. Cian Healy heads into the round-of-16 with 101 appearances, while Wigglesworth retired mid-season on 99.