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Some interesting facts about European Champions Cup journey

By Frank Quinn
THIS week-end sees the start of the 23rd edition of the European Champions Cup (formerly Heineken Cup) and as three of Ireland’s four provinces set out on a journey to possible success, we look at some facts and figures as well as the glories and the disappointments.
In the first final on the 6th of January, 1996 at Cardiff Arms Park, Toulouse beat Cardiff 21-18 before an attendance of 22,000.
The 22nd final was held at Murrayfield on the 13th May 2017 and Saracens beat Clermont 28-17 in front of 55,000 spectators
In spite of having 20 clubs taking part each year for 22 years, appearances in the final are the very exclusive property of the few: There were six appearances for Toulouse (Won 4), 5 for Leicester (Won 2), 4 appearances for Munster (Won 2), Leinster and Toulon appeared 3 times and won 3 each, Saracens were in three finals and won 2. The unlucky club is Clermont Auvergne who appeared in 3 finals and have yet to win the European Champions Cup.
Looking for a winner for 2018, then check out the historical records of this ‘Magnificient Seven’ before placing a bet!
Wasps have two wins, Brive, Bath, Northampton, and Ulster have one win each
Only 12 teams have won the Cup in 22 years, two in Pool 4 Munster/Leicester, two in Pool 1 Ulster/Wasps and Leinster only previous winner in Pool 3.
Saracens, Northampton and the unlucky Clermont are in Pool 2, Toulon and Bath are in Pool 5, in this seasons draw.
Pride of place in the overall statistics is Munster’s Ronan O’Gara as the top points scorer on 1,365 points. Stephen Jones, Scarlets/Clermont, is a poor second on 869 points.
The top try scorer is Chris Ashton, Northampton, with 37 tries and the runner up is Vincent Clerc, Toulouse, with 36 tries.
Munster Rugby has the most consecutive wins in the competition at 13 and has the distinction as the holder of the most European Cup matches at 158, followed by Toulouse 157 and Leinster 150.
The biggest attendance at a final was 81,744 at Twickenham on 20th May 2012, to see Leinster beat Ulster 42-14.
David Humphreys, Ulster, is still the record holder for the most points in a game at 37 against Wasps in the 01/02 season.

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