AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP FINAL PREVIEW Northampton Saints v Bath Rugby – The 1st Major Rugby Final to be played on an Artificial Pitch!

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Amlin Challenge Cup final preview


As the Cardiff 2014 finals approach, please find attached a comprehensive preview of Friday night’s Amlin Challenge Cup final between Bath Rugby and Northampton Saints including media schedules, updates, finals records and in-depth tournament statistics.

A match pack preview for the final will be forwarded to media tomorrow.

Amlin Challenge Cup final notes

  • History will be made at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday with the game between Northampton Saints and Bath Rugby the first major rugby final to be played on an artificial pitch.
  • The game will be the fourth all-English final in the Challenge Cup. The previous English battles have been between London Wasps and Bath Rugby in 2003, Gloucester and London Irish in 2006 and Bath Rugby v Worcester Warriors in 2008.
  • English clubs have won nine of the 17 Challenge Cup finals to date. There have been six French winners and one each from Wales and Ireland.
  • Bath Rugby will be playing in their fourth Challenge Cup final and their fifth European final. They have won one Challenge Cup title (2008) and one Heineken Cup title (1998).
  • Northampton Saints will be featuring in their fourth European final on Friday. They won the Heineken Cup in 2000, lost to Leinster Rugby at the Millennium Stadium in 2011, and were Challenge Cup champions in 2009.
  • In their two games to date this season in the Premiership, Northampton Saints have come out on top. They were 43-25 winners at Franklin’s Gardens and drew 19-19 at the Rec.
  • Bath Rugby full back Nick Abendanon is hoping to end his career at the club on a high with a second win in three Challenge Cup final appearances. He was a loser with Bath in 2007 and then a winner at Kingsholm the following year in the victory over Worcester Warriors.
  • Matt Banahan is the only other survivor from the victorious Bath team in the 2008 final win over Worcester Warriors.
  • Northampton Saints full back Ben Foden is another player looking forward to a third Challenge Cup final, although he has been a winner in both previous finals with Sale Sharks in 2005 and Saints in 2009. If he plays, it will be his 50th appearance in European competition.
  • Five other current Saints players have survived from the 2009 winning team – Steve Myler, Lee Dickson, Christian Day, Courtney Lawes and Man of the Match, Dylan Hartley.
  • Northampton Saints have already played one European final in Cardiff. They were 22-6 ahead at half-time in the 2011 final at the Millennium Stadium against Leinster Rugby and seemingly on their way to becoming the first club to win all nine matches in a season. But a dramatic Leinster second half comeback saw them fail to add to their points tally and go down 33-22.
  • There are 10 players who featured in that Heineken Cup final defeat who are still in the Saints squad – Ben Foden, Steve Myler, Lee Dickson, Alex Waller, Dylan Hartley, Tom Mercey, Courtney Lawes, Christian Day, Calum Clark and Phil Dowson.
  • The first four Challenge Cup finals were strictly all-French affairs won by Bourgoin, Colomiers, Montferrand and Pau, before Harlequins broke the monopoly in 2001 by defeating Narbonne after extra-time for the first of their record three titles.


amlin final 2014 preview

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