European Cup record smashed

Mon, 20 Jan 2014 16:11
Large clermontfans Large ulster fans Large leicester tigers fans

The European Cup set a new pool stage attendance record as quarterfinal qualification went down to the wire once again at the weekend.

The European Cup set a new pool stage attendance record as quarterfinal qualification went down to the wire once again at the weekend.

As Europe's premier club tournament was delivering another rollercoaster Round Six full of intrigue, spectators were voting with their feet to set a new European Cup pool stage attendance record.

The total for the six rounds went through the 900,000 barrier for the first time in history, rising to an impressive 921,196, an increase of six percent on the 2012/13 season.

There were sell-outs at Thomond Park, Welford Road and the RDS, along with record crowds at Cardiff Arms Park (12,125) and Scotstoun (6,541) at the weekend.

The top four seedings for the quarterfinals were only confirmed during the very last tension-packed games of Round Six.

Clermont grabbed the No.2 seed spot behind front-runners Ulster with a hard-fought bonus-point victory over Racing Metro at Stade Marcel-Michelin, while Harlequins managed to book their place in the European Challenge Cup last eight with a win in the dying minutes at Parc y Scarlets.
When the dust settled, a truly heavyweight European Cup quarterfinal line-up emerged with six former champions, and a total of 16 European titles, among the eight qualifiers.

The ties in early April will positively bristle with atmosphere and quality as Ulster host Saracens, Clermont take on Leicester Tigers, holders Toulon clash with European specialists, Leinster and Toulouse go to fortress Thomond Park for the first time in their history.
Ulster go into the knockout stage with six wins from six. No club have won the European Cup in the same season that they had a 100 percent record from the pool stage.

Ulster's one previous quarterfinal at home was their victory over Toulouse at Ravenhill in their tournament-winning season of 1998/99. 
The Ulster-Saracens quarterfinal is a repeat of last season's game which Saracens won 27-16 at Twickenham Stadium. 

Toulon have won all seven of their European Cup games at Stade Mayol, including last season's quarterfinal win over Leicester Tigers. 

Munster have won six out of their seven home quarterfinals. The one defeat was by Ulster at Thomond Park in 2012. 

Clermont, who take on Leicester Tigers, are now unbeaten in 71 games at Stade Marcel-Michelin. 

The last time Leinster played a quarterfinal in France, they famously defeated Toulouse 41-35 in 2006. 
Saracens' visit to Ravenhill will be their first away quarterfinal while Toulon and Leinster will be meeting for the first time in the European Cup. 

Meanwhile, Northampton Saints, Harlequins and Gloucester qualified for the European Challenge Cup quarterfinals as the third, fourth and fifth best pool runners-up where they will join European Challenge Cup pool winners Bath, London Wasps, Stade Francais, Sale Sharks and Brive.

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Sat, 22 October 2016
New Zealand v Australia 06h35 Auckland
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 12h00 Thomond Park
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 14h00 Bloemfontein
Clermont Auvergne v Bordeaux 14h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Castres v Northampton Saints 15h15 Stade Pierre Antoine
Saracens v Scarlets 16h30 Allianz Park
Ulster v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 23 October 2016
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Zebre v Connacht 15h15 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Toulouse v Wasps 15h15 Le Mans
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16h30 Welford Road
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 1 1 0 0 5
Munster 0 0 0 0 0
Racing Metro 0 0 0 0 0
Leicester Tigers 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 1 1 0 0 5
Connacht 1 1 0 0 4
Toulouse 1 0 0 1 1
Zebre 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 1 1 0 0 4
Saracens 1 1 0 0 4
Toulon 2 1 0 1 4
Sale Sharks 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 1 1 0 0 5
Northampton Saints 1 1 0 0 4
Montpellier 1 0 1 1
Castres 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 1 1 0 0 5
Bordeaux 1 1 0 0 4
Ulster 1 0 0 1 0
Exeter Chiefs 1 0 0 1 0