Munster to set a new record

Tue, 02 Apr 2013 09:56

Munster will overtake Toulouse as the team that has played the most European Cup quarterfinals when they travel to the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday to face Harlequins.

It will be Munster's 14th appearance in the knock-out stages of European club rugby's top tournament and will carry them past Toulouse on 13. If they reach the semifinals for a ninth time in their history they will have set a record 10 wins in the quarterfinals.

The game will also give Ronan O'Gara another chance to push two of his tournament records further out of sight of future generations. The 36-year-old is on course to make his 108th appearance in the competition at the weekend and will be looking to raise his points tally from the 1,342 he has scored to date.

With an average of more than 12 points per game, he currently leads nearest rival Stephen Jones by 473 points and Dimitri Yachvili in third place on the all-time list by a massive 681. But even O'Gara would admit he is unlikely to threaten the individual points scoring records for a European Cup quarterfinal.

That record has belonged to Diego Dominguez for the past 14 years after he scored 31 points in Stade Francais' demolition job on Pontypridd in Paris in the 1998/99 season. The French side ended up winning the game 71-14 and the Italian international outside half converted nine of his side's 10 tries, two of which he scored himself, and also kicked a penalty.

That performance by Stade Francais has set an unlikely target for teams to threaten ever since, although it didn't contain a hat-trick or more of tries. In fact, only three players have ever scored three tries in the quarter-finals, the last being ASM Clermont Auvergne wing Julien Malzieu in his side's defeat in Dublin against Leinster three years ago.

Leicester Tigers fullback Geordan Murphy is the only player in the ERC Elite '25 Try' club who has a chance of improving his tally in the knock-out stages. He remains, however, 10 behind tournament leader Vincent Clerc on 35.

Munster lock Donncha O'Callaghan can also move up the appearance rankings if he plays against Harlequins on Sunday. He is currently tied with Leinster rivals Leo Cullen and Shane Horgan on 86 matches and one more game would take him into fifth place on his own in the all-time rankings.

European Cup Quarterfinal Records:

Highest Score 71 - Stade Français 71 Pontypridd 14 (1998/99)
Winning Margin 57 - Stade Français 71 Pontypridd 14 (1998/99)
Most Tries 10 - Stade Français 71 Pontypridd 14 (1998/99)
Most Appearances 13 - Munster Rugby and Toulouse
Most Wins 9 - Munster Rugby and Toulouse

Most Points 31 - Diego Dominguez (Stade Français) v Pontypridd (1998/99)
Most Tries 3 - Anthony Foley (Munster) v Biarritz Olympique (2000/01); Olivier Sarramea (Stade Français) v Newcastle Falcons (2004/05); Julien Malzieu (ASM Clermont Auvergne) v Leinster (2009/10)
Most Penalties 8 - Stephen Jones (Llanelli) v Bath Rugby (2001/02)
Most Conversions 9 - Diego Dominguez (Stade Français) v Pontypridd (1998/99)
Most Drop Goals 3 - Damien Traille (Biarritz Olympique) v Ospreys (2009/10)

50 Tournament Caps
108 - Ronan O'Gara (Munster); 101 - John Hayes (Munster; 94 - Peter Stringer (Munster); 91 - Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster); 87 - Leo Cullen (Leinster), Shane Horgan (Leinster), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster); 86 - Anthony Foley (Munster), David Wallace (Munster); 84 - Jean Bouilhou (Toulouse), Marcus Horan (Munster), Stephen Jones (Scarlets, ASM Clermont Auvergne); 82 - Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster); 81 - Fabien Pelous (Dax, Toulouse), Martyn Williams (Pontypridd, Cardiff Blues)

500 Tournament Points
1,342 - Ronan O'Gara (Munster); 869 - Stephen Jones (Scarlets, ASM Clermont Auvergne); 661 - Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz Olympique PB); 645 - Diego Dominguez (Milan, Stade Francais Paris); 564 - David Humphreys (Ulster); 502 - Neil Jenkins (Pontypridd, Celtic Warriors, Cardiff Blues)

25 Tournament Tries
35 - Vincent Clerc (Toulouse); 32 - Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster); 29 - Dafydd James (Bridgend, Pontypridd, Scarlets, Celtic Warriors, Harlequins); 27 - Shane Horgan (Leinster); 26 - Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster); 25 - Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers)

50 Tournament Matches
131 - Toulouse; 128 - Munster; 121 - Leinster Rugby; 116 - Leicester Tigers; 111 - Scarlets; 109 - Ulster Rugby; 108 - Cardiff Blues; 97 - Edinburgh Rugby; 92 - Biarritz Olympique; 90 - Benetton Treviso