With the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals just over a month away, we take a look back at some classic last–eight matches featuring this year’s teams.
2006: Munster Rugby 19 Perpignan 10
Munster had to battle back from a 10-7 down at Thomond Park to defeat a stubborn Perpignan side en route to their first European Cup crown.
The Irish province got off to a fast start with a Paul O’Connell try, but they were pegged back by wing Matthieu Bourret, who converted his own try and kicked a penalty.
However, fly-half Ronan O’Gara – who leads the European Cup’s all-time points–scorers list with 1,365 – landed four second–half penalties to secure a semi-final berth against Leinster Rugby.
Munster went on to defeat their Irish rivals 30-6 in Dublin before edging out Biarritz 23-19 in the final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
2011: Biarritz 20 Toulouse 27 (AET)
Flanker Yannick Nyanga was the Toulouse hero as he scored a last-minute, extra–time try to send the four-time winners into the European Cup semi-finals at the expense of French rivals Biarritz.
Toulouse had led 17-0 thanks to tries from wing Cedric Heymans and full-back Maxime Medard, but Biarritz came roaring back with 12 points from scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili and a 79th minute score from wing Ilikena Bolakoro.
Yachvili missed the conversion to send the match into extra time and then had a clearing kick blocked by Nyanga, who collected the ball and dived over the line to secure victory.
Toulouse were defeated by eventual winners Leinster in the semi-finals, falling 32-23 in Dublin.
2016: Saracens 29 Northampton Saints 20
Saracens were forced to come from behind against Northampton Saints before going on to win their first European crown.
Fly-half Owen Farrell kicked 19 points to secure Saracens’ spot in the last four, but they followed a quick start by Northampton, who led 10-6 at the break thanks to a try from wing Ken Pisi.
Saracens pulled away in the closing stages, before going on to defeat Wasps 24-17 in the semi-finals.
Farrell was again the hero in the final, kicking all of Saracens’ points as they beat Racing 92 21-9 in Lyon.
2018: ASM Clermont Auvergne 17 Racing 92 28
In one of Racing 92’s finest European away performances, the Parisians convincingly beat 2017 finalists ASM Clermont Auvergne last season.
Clermont entered the match with six wins from as many Champions Cup matches, but they were put to the sword by their French rivals, who scored tries through 2018 EPCR European Player of the Year Leone Nakarawa, as well as wing duo Marc Andreu and Boris Palu.
Racing staged a similar display in the semi-finals, when they defeated Munster 27-22, before eventually falling to four-time winners Leinster in the Bilbao final, losing 15-12.