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Lowe's warning to Leinster teammates ahead of Euro Final

REACTION: Hat-trick hero James Lowe accepts Leinster must raise their game to end an agonising wait for a fifth European Champions Cup title.


Leinster were cruising to a third successive appearance in the Final when Lowe scored his – and the Irish province’s – third try to put his team 20-3 up against Northampton at the weekend in front of an ecstatic crowd of over 82,300 at Dublin’s Croke Park.

But the English Premiership leaders staged an impressive fightback, scoring 14 unanswered points through two converted tries from George Hendy and Tom Seabrook, to leave Leinster clinging on to a 20-17 semifinal win.

Leinster, beaten in the last two Champions Cup finals by French club La Rochelle, will now face Toulouse – who beat Harlequins 38-26 on Sunday – in this season’s showpiece match at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 25.

“Something almost horrific happened!” Ireland wing Lowe said.

“We were able to build a score but we know Northampton are an amazing attacking side and we gave them too many opportunities.

“I don’t think we kicked well, me personally anyway, and we let their boys run riot.”

(Continue below …)

‘Got on top of us’

Leinster captain Caelan Doris, who helped force a crucial turnover late on as Northampton looked to complete a remarkable comeback, said: “They’re top of the Premiership for a reason.


“As much as we back our ‘D’ [defence], their attack probably got on top of us at times there. It was pleasing to just about do enough in the last few minutes.”

Leinster will hope to have Ireland backs Hugo Keenan and Garry Ringrose fit for the Final after the pair missed the Northampton match but coach Leo Cullen insisted there would be no question of resting senior players for their intervening games in the United Rugby Championship.

“We need to concentrate on the URC now for the next couple of weeks, so we’ll be picking strong teams,” said Cullen.

In January last year, Northampton suffered their 10th successive defeat in the Champions Cup.


Yet on Saturday the Saints, champions of Europe in 2000 and beaten in the 2011 Final by Leinster, came within sight of causing a huge upset in what was effectively a home game for their opponents, based across Dublin at Donnybrook.

“We knew we had to play through them [Leinster] and in the first half we didn’t look after the ball well enough and probably tried to force things that weren’t really there to start off with,” said Northampton and England fullback George Furbank.

“They sort of shut up shop with 20 minutes to go and gave us a lot of kicks so it was about securing that and putting our game on the field.

“We came close and put ourselves in a situation where we could have and potentially should have won that game.”

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