Saracens beat Leinster to win a record third European crown

Ross Houston
May 14, 2019

Vunipola was booed most times he touched the ball during his team's Champions Cup semi-final victory over Munster, and there were jeers aplenty in Newcastle.

Saracens won a third European Champions Cup in four years when it overcame defending champion Leinster from 10-0 down to win their final 20-10 this morning.

Vunipola and his team-mates had to dig deep to overturn a 10-0 deficit and McCall said: "It's obviously been a complicated five or six weeks for him and for the squad, but what we needed from him was to do his talking on the field, not off it".

Saracens continued their occupancy in Leinster 22 and eventually, their attack proved dividends with Billy Vunipola scoring the decisive try with 13 minutes to go and conversion from Farrell ensured Mark McCall's side completed another title win.

The fly-half's deft pass set Scotland's Sean Maitland clear to make it honours even at half-time and with momentum on their side after the break, Vunipola crashed his way through to decide a breathless encounter. When things go against us it galvanises us.

"We will always look at ourselves first".

"It was nearly like the Maro yellow card released us and allowed us to play our game".

"But more importantly, the way the team responded to those key messages, because a message is only as good as the guys who follow it, and they were phenomenal".

This is Saracens' third Champions Cup title victory in four seasons after previously emerging winners in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons.

Ireland's Tadhg Furlong had helped holders Leinster assume a commanding 10-3 lead, only to see Red Rose captain Owen Farrell mastermind a spirited Saracens comeback.

In a frantic opening, it was holders Leinster that drew first blood, Johnny Sexton, a Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam victor with Ireland in 2018, slotting a penalty after the Saracens line had strayed offside. "They're a big, big, physical team with lots of quality". "They're good at what they do". And they're the margins you live with in this competition.

Reflecting on Leinster's first defeat in a European final, head coach Leo Cullen said: "Everyone is going to talk about the periods either side of half-time because that was when Saracens scored some points".

They overcame a series of setbacks to haul themselves level at halftime and gradually strangled the life out of the normally attack-dominant Irish side with vast physicality and self-belief to triumph 20-10.

"I think we know what to expect, but they're big, big men; very big men".

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