Fri 10 May 2019 | 07:28

Leinster has Saracens' number

Leinster has Saracens' number
Fri 10 May 2019 | 07:28
Leinster has Saracens' number
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CHAMPIONS CUP FINAL: Leinster head coach Leo Cullen says his team is not focusing on setting a record with a fifth European title.

Their focus is on finding a way to overcome Saracens in Saturday’s Champions Cup Final.

A Leinster victory in Newcastle would see them surpass four titles, a record they jointly hold with Toulouse.

Leinster were the last team to beat Saracens on the European stage, knocking them out in the quarterfinals 13 months ago.

But the English heavyweights are unbeaten in this season’s tournament and Cullen is aware of the task his players face.

“We are playing against a team that has been at this stage over the course of the last few seasons and has so much threat from numbers one to 23,” he said.

“It is trying to understand what we are actually going to face, what it is going to be like for us, what type of plan do we need, to try and unlock what their strengths are.”

“It [the record] is there in the background, but it is not something we have focused too much attention on,” he added.

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Cullen has named an unchanged team from the one that won the semi-final against Toulouse last month.

Hooker Sean Cronin makes a first appearance since that game after recovering from a calf muscle injury, while two switches on the bench see opportunities for forwards Jack McGrath and Rhys Ruddock.

Captain Johnny Sexton said Saracens would be tough opponents.

But, he added: “We will take confidence from coming through a tough pool, some of the challenges we’ve faced along the way – Ulster, Toulouse – and we will take confidence from winning the trophy last year.

England prop Mako Vunipola will take his place in Saracens’ starting line-up.

Vunipola had been troubled by an ankle injury but he starts in a pack that sees lock Maro Itoje playing at blindside flank and Will Skelton partnering George Kruis in the second row.

Flank Michael Rhodes misses out because of a back problem, but wing Sean Maitland returns after missing the semifinal victory over Munster last month.

Saracens are chasing a third European title in four seasons.

Agence France-Presse

PV: 698


Leinster Has Saracens' Number | Rugby365