Saracens Vanquish Leinster in Bruising Champions Cup Final

Saracens Vanquish Leinster in Bruising Champions Cup final

Saracens produced a composed all-round performance to outplay defending champions Leinster 20-10 in the European Champions Cup final at St James' Park on Saturday.




The result ensured Saracens claimed a third title in four seasons. It also means the English outfit are on track to claim a coveted double with the Gallagher Premiership playoffs but a fortnight away.

Leinster still have the Pro14 playoffs to look forward to after failing to defend their European crown.

The final was played with a Test match intensity. Both sides were stacked with seasoned internationals and at times the game mirrored some of rugby's most physical European clashes of yesteryear.

Despite losing both props Mako Vunipola and Titi Lamositele early in the game, Mark McCall's charges did well to soldier on, with Springbok Vincent Koch putting on a solid show from the bench.

Johnny Sexton broke the deadlock with a penalty after three-minutes as both teams began to get a grip in the contest.

Maro Itoje was yellow carded after an intense period of Leinster pressure and Tadgh Furlong, making his 100th appearance for his beloved club, scored to put his side in the driver's seat.

Saracens regained their composure from there and hit back with an Owen Farrell penalty before Sean Maitland crossed the chalk after the halftime hooter to level the scores at 10-a piece.

The second-half was as physical and frenetic as the first, with both teams coming close to scoring before being repelled by big defensive plays.

The men in red did well to absorb the majority of Leinster pressure before staging a late offensive attack that reaped huge rewards and ultimately decided the result.

Crucially, Scott Fardy was yellow carded for cynical play after one particular Saracens attack. Farrell added three more points, before Billy Vunipola barged his way over for the match-clinching try soon thereafter.


Scorers

Leinster:

  • Tries - Furlong
  • Cons - Sexton
  • Pens - Sexton
  • Yellow card - Fardy

Saracens: 

  • Tries - Maitland, Vunipola 
  • Cons - Farrell (2)
  • Pens - Farrell (2)
  • Yellow card - Itoje


Leinster
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Seán O’Brien, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Cian Healy
Subs: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Rhys Ruddock, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rory O’Loughlin


Saracens
15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jackson Wray, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Titi Lamositele, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Subs: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 David Strettle.


Written by Shaun Goosen

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