The second tier of the European Rugby Championship is set for this weekend and will be live on FloRugby in the Middle East and North Africa.
• No 1-ranked ASM Clermont Auvergne are the second club to achieve a maximum 30 points during the Challenge Cup pool stage. Ospreys were the first in the 2016/17 season.
• The quarterfinal lineup includes four tournament winners – Harlequins (3), Clermont (2), Northampton Saints (2) and Sale Sharks (2) – with nine Challenge Cup titles between them.
• Connacht Rugby will equal Gloucester Rugby’s total of 10 knockout stage appearances when they meet Sale Sharks on Friday evening. Only Brive (13) and Newcastle Falcons (11) have more appearances in the last eight.
• Clermont has played three home quarterfinals in the tournament to date and have won them all.
• Bristol Bears’ Tom Pincus made the most meters during the pool stage with 476 and the joint-most clean breaks (17) with Clermont’s Peter Betham.
• On the last two occasions that Sale reached the last eight, they lost at home to the eventual tournament winners – 19-25 to Montpellier in 2016 and 14-28 to Northampton in 2014.
• Connacht, who travel to the AJ Bell Stadium, have come up against Premiership opposition on four occasions at the quarterfinal stage and have lost each time including last season against Gloucester.
• Peter Betham of Clermont and Sale Sharks’ Chris Ashton are the leading try scorers from the pool stage with seven apiece.
Two of @SaleSharksRugby's stalwarts combined in this delightful dot-down last time out 😍— Challenge Cup (@ERChallengeCup) March 25, 2019
How important will @ChrisAshton1 and @fafdeklerk be in the #ChallengeCupRugby quarter-final on Friday? 👊
Here's a look at the other key players ➡️ https://t.co/lXFmpb88f5 pic.twitter.com/QvVe6AoCi3
• Harlequins’ loss to RC Toulon at Stade Mayol in 2012 is the only defeat in six quarterfinal matches for the 2001, 2004, and 2011 tournament winners.
• Worcester Warriors, defeated finalists in 2008, have won all three of their quarterfinal matches to date.
• Of the clubs who have qualified for the last eight, Bristol’s Callum Sheedy is the top scorer with 55 points.
• Clermont’s Apisai Naqalevu’s total of 27 defenders beaten was the highest from the pool stage.
• Connacht’s Matt Healy is now joint fifth on the all-time Challenge Cup try-scoring list with 19 tries behind Tom Varndell (25), Julien Arias (22), and Richard Haughton and Topsy Ojo (both 20).