European Challenge Cup preview: Last 16


The European Rugby Challenge Cup returns this weekend and there’s no lacking of stars on show as eight teams move across from the Heineken Champions Cup to join the eight qualified sides from the preliminary stage.

Every match can be found in the UK on BT Sport, with Sky Italia also showing the first match of the knockout stage as Zebre Rugby Club hosts Bath Rugby from 15:00 (All UK and Irish time).

The other two matches on Good Friday see London Irish face Cardiff Blues at the Brentford Community Stadium (17:30) and Montpellier hosting Glasgow Warriors (20:00) at GGL Stadium. That match is also live on FR4 and beIN SPORTS in France.

Saturday’s showing is a sumptuous quartet of Challenge Cup action, with two matches taking place at 15:00. Benetton Rugby face off against Agen and Ospreys host Newcastle Falcons, with the latter also available to watch on S4C.

S4C also show the third Challenge Cup match between Dragons and Northampton Saints (17:30), before the final helping on Saturday sees two-time European Cup winners Leicester Tigers host Connacht Rugby (20:00) at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

Once the Heineken Champions Cup action is completed on Sunday, the Challenge Cup is back in the spotlight with the final match of the weekend featuring Harlequins and Ulster Rugby, live from Twickenham Stoop at 20:00.

Dragons vs Northampton Saints: Match Facts

  • The Dragons and Northampton Saints have met twice previously in the Challenge Cup, with the Premiership club recording victories in both encounters during the 2018/19 pool stage.
  • The Dragons have only lost three of their last 18 home games in the Challenge Cup (W15), but two of those defeats came against Premiership teams, including Northampton Saints in October 2018 (21-35).
  • Northampton have lost two of their last three games in the Challenge Cup (W1) after winning 14 of the previous 15 completed fixtures (L1).
  • Northampton have won nine of their 12 away games in Wales in European competition (L3), including the most recent one against the Dragons in October 2018 (35-21).
  • The Dragons have lost six of their last seven Challenge Cup games against Premiership opposition, a 25-16 victory over Worcester in December 2019 the only exception in this run.
  • This will be the Dragons’ 68th Challenge Cup game, more than any other Welsh side (14th most by any side).
  • The Dragons’ average of 209 metres gained per game is the lowest of any side in the Heineken Champions Cup this season.
  • Brok Harris (Dragons) made 28/28 tackles in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, no player has made more without missing at least one.
  • Taine Basham (Dragons) beat nine defenders in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, the joint most by any forward.
  • Samuel Matavesi (Northampton) is one of five players to win a tournament high four turnovers in the Heineken Champions Cup this season.
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