ERCC: Leinster v Saracens Preview

Sunday afternoon has served us up an absolute gem in the form of Leinster v Sarries.

Leinster v Saracens
Aviva Stadium
1 April 16h30

To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster 36/100
Draw 22/1
Saracens 9/4

These two European powerhouses – one looking to add a fourth title to their proud history, the other looking to make it a hat-trick of titles – will hold nothing back come matchday.


The brand of footy Leo Cullen’s Leinster have played this season, along with the uber-talented youngsters coming through their ranks has led many to suggest that they are on the cusp of rekindling the period of dominance they enjoyed when they won three European titles in four years from 2009 to 2012.

With their hosting of a Pro14 playoff virtually in the bank, they will have their eyes fully set on claiming another Champions Cup crown. That said, an injury list containing the likes of Robbie Henshaw, Jordan Larmour, and Jack Conan may affect their preparation somewhat heading into the weekend.

Still, with a rugby brain like Cullen’s, the tie remains very much in the balance. Saracens will look to hog possession and stay in the right areas of the pitch through the boot of Owen Farrell. If Johnny Sexton gets enough front-foot ball, however, he should be able to dictate matters himself and curb the impact of Saracens’ dangerous strike-runners. It goes without saying that the set-piece battle will be pivotal for both sides to gain the advantage and so a lot will rest on the performance of numbers one to eight.


It is perhaps a testament to the Londoner’s quality that, despite experiencing what many are calling a “below-par” campaign thus far, they remain in contention for both European and domestic success. Saracens currently sit in second place on the Aviva Premiership, with a semi-final in the pipeline, but an unprecedented third-successive Champions Cup title is where their priorities lie.

No side in Europe has dominated quite like Mark McCall’s band have over the past two seasons, and indeed their “legend” status is already guaranteed. That said, this team brimming with champions will never forgive themselves if they fail to get over the line again this campaign. Second-place isn’t an option. Losing quarter-finalists? Forget it.

This may present Saracens with their toughest challenge yet in their evolution. Having snuck through to the knockouts despite a poor showing in the pool phase, they will have their backs against the wall in Dublin this Sunday. If and how they rise to the test will make for a pure rugby masterclass.

Verdict: Leinster 36/100
On the back of Ireland’s glorious Grand Slam Six Nations campaign, the lads at Leinster will be far too fired-up to let this one slip away. Under the leadership of Sexton, they will out-think Sarries this Sunday.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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