Connect with us

Champions Cup

Saracens Comeback Stuns Leinster

Saracens claimed their third European crown with a stunning win over Leinster

Published

on

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Saracens won their third Champions Cup in four seasons with an incredible 20-10 comeback victory over reigning champions Leinster on Saturday evening.

The win was Leinster’s first ever defeat in a European final and ruined their chance to become the first team to claim five Champions Cup titles.

The game was a back and forth affair for the opening quarter with both teams looking to get off to the perfect start.

It was Leinster who broke the deadlock with only four minutes gone as captain Johnny Sexton knocked over a penalty.

However, it was not until just after the half-hour mark until there was another score. Following some serious pressure from the boys in blue Maro Itoje was shown a yellow card.

Within two minutes Leinster’s Tadhg Furlong, making his 100th appearance for the club, barged over to score the opening try of the match.

Sexton made no mistake with the conversion and it was 10-0 with 34 minutes on the clock.

Sarries, with only 14 men on the pitch took the game to Leinster and were rewarded on 39 minutes when Owen Farrell slotted over a penalty to make it 10-3.

As Itoje took his place back on the pitch the clock struck 40 minutes, and with Leinster in possession it looked as though they would lead going in at half-time.

That was until Luke McGrath decided to kick forward rather than put the ball into the stands and Saracens took full advantage.

They kept possession of the ball for a further three minutes, with the clock in red before some swift hands from the back-line allowed Sean Maitland to stroll over for a try in the left corner.

Farrell was perfect from the tee and suddenly it was 10-10 at the whistle.

The second-half started well for Leinster as they tried to retake the lead. A poor decision by Garry Ringrose, who chose to keep the ball instead of passing with an overlap, proved costly as they failed to take their chances.

Saracens were more clinical in attack and when Scott Fardy was sin-binned for Leinster after a number of penalty concessions near the line, the team in red struck.

Farrell landed the penalty from Fardy’s sin-binning and with only a couple of minutes left before the Australians return Saracens dealt the killer blow.

As Leinster failed to clear their lines a scrum were Saracens had a full eight man pack, to Leinster’s seven was crucial as they won their own ball and Billy Vunipola crashed over between the posts. Farrell added the extras and with only 10 minutes left it was 20-10.

Even when Fardy returned Leinster could not get near the Saracens line as the game finished 20-10 in the English champions favour.

The result means that Saracens have now become the most successful English team in the competitions history while Leinster remain with four titles of their own.

Both must now dust themselves down and prepare for the final stages of their respective domestic competitions as they fight to defend their Pro 14 and Premiership crowns.

Player Ratings:

Leinster: Rob Kearney (5), Jordan Larmour (6), Garry Ringrose (5), Robbie Henshaw (7), James Lowe (5), Johnny Sexton (7), Luke McGrath (8); Cian Healy (7), Sean Cronin (6), Tadhg Furlong (8), Devin Toner (6), James Ryan (6), Scott Fardy (6), Sean O’Brien (5), Jack Conan (7)

Replacements (5)

Saracens: Alex Goode (7), Liam Williams (7), Alex Lozowski (8), Brad Barritt (7), Sean Maitland (8), Owen Farrell (8), Ben Spencer (7); Mako Vunipola (6), Jamie George (7), Titi Lamositele (6), Will Skelton (7), George Kruis (9), Maro Itoje (7), Jackson Wray (7), Billy Vunipola (9)

Replacements (9)

Champions Cup

Big names miss out for Ulster

Published

on

(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Ulster match-day squad to face Gloucester tomorrow afternoon in Round 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup has been named (Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm).  

The back line sees just one change from the side that played Toulouse last Friday. Michael Lowry, Jacob Stockdale and Matt Faddes all retain their positions in the back three. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume are the starting midfield duo. Billy Burns returns at fly-half and will captain the side; he will partner John Cooney at scrum-half.  

The front row remains unchanged for this game. Rob Herring is named at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore packing down at loosehead and tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor will partner with his brother David – who will make his first Heineken Champions Cup start with Sam Carter missing out through concussion. Sean Reidy has been selected at blindside, with Jordi Murphy returning at openside. Nick Timoney comes in to start at Number Eight to replace the injured Marcel Coetzee.

John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, and Greg Jones are the forward bench options. Academy player, Ethan McIlroy could make his European debut if called upon from the bench, and is named alongside Alby Mathewson and Ian Madigan in the back line replacements.    

Ulster team to play Gloucester, Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Saturday 19 December 2020 at Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:  

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns (Capt.), John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, David O’Connor, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney. 

Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.  

Continue Reading

Champions Cup

Ulster name strong side to face Toulouse

Published

on

(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad for the province’s opening Pool game of the 2020-21 Heineken Champions Cup against Toulouse on Friday (kick-off 8pm, Kingspan Stadium). 

In the back three, Jacob Stockdale returns from international duty to the left wing, joining Michael Lowry at full-back and Matt Faddes on the right wing. In midfield, Stuart McCloskey also returns from the Ireland squad to partner with James Hume. Ian Madigan has been named at fly-half alongside John Cooney at scrum-half. 

Having made his international debut against Scotland last week, Eric O’Sullivan, comes in to take the starting berth at loosehead prop. Rob Herring also returns from Ireland duties and is named at hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his position at tighthead. Alan O’Connor will partner with Sam Carter, who will lead the side from the second row. Sean Reidy and Jordi Murphy are named at blindside and openside, with Marcell Coetzee completing the pack at Number Eight. 

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, and Matty Rea provide the forward options, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Craig Gilroy offering back line cover from the bench. 

Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round 1, Friday 11 December 2020 at Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee. 

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Matty Rea, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

Continue Reading

Champions Cup

Heineken Champions Cup Pool Draw for 2020/21

Published

on

The holders, Exeter Chiefs, will play against Toulouse and Glasgow Warriors in the pool stage of the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup following the tournament Pool Draw which was held on Wednesday 28 October at the Maison du Sport International in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Exeter, who lifted the trophy for the first time after a dramatic 25th anniversary final earlier this month, were drawn into Pool B and will meet the four-time tournament winners and Glasgow over four pool stage rounds on a home and away basis.

Under the new format for the 2020/21 season featuring two pools of 12 clubs, reigning Guinness PRO14 champions, Leinster Rugby, will have Montpellier and Northampton Saints as their opponents in Pool A when the tournament kicks off again in December, while last season’s runners-up, Racing 92, are in Pool B where they will be up against Connacht Rugby and Harlequins.

Wasps, who were edged out by the Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership final, will meet Dragons and Montpellier in Pool A, and PRO14 finalists, Ulster Rugby, will take on Gloucester Rugby and Toulouse in Pool B.

Munster Rugby will renew their European rivalry with ASM Clermont Auvergne and Harlequins in Pool B, while Bristol Bears’ Director of Rugby, Pat Lam, will make a return to Galway when the Challenge Cup winners go up against Connacht and Clermont also in Pool B.

For the purposes of the draw, the 24 clubs which qualified from the Premiership, the PRO14 and the TOP 14 were classified into four tiers based on their performances in the knockout phases of their respective leagues, and/or on their qualifying positions in their respective league tables.

Each tier contained six clubs with Tier 1 made up of the number one and number two ranked clubs from each league, and Tier 2, the number three and number four ranked clubs from each league, and so on.

Starting with Tier 1, the clubs were either drawn or allocated into either Pool A or Pool B so that each pool contained 12 clubs with no clubs in the same tier from the same league in the same pool.

The key principles regarding the pool stage fixtures are that clubs will only play against opponents in the same pool, and clubs from the same league cannot play against one another.

The Tier 1 and Tier 4 clubs which were drawn in the same pool, but which are not from the same league, will play one another home and away over four rounds. The same principle applies to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which were drawn in the same pool, but which are not from the same league.

The exact dates of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixtures and the Challenge Cup preliminary stage fixtures, including venues, kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced as soon as possible following consultation with clubs and EPCR’s partner broadcasters.

The four highest-ranked clubs from each Heineken Champions Cup pool will qualify for the quarter-finals which will be played over two legs, and the clubs ranked from number five to number eight in each pool will qualify for the Round of 16 of the Challenge Cup.

Today’s draw, which mapped out the first steps on the journey to the 2021 Marseille finals weekend, was conducted by EPCR Chief Executive, Vincent Gaillard, and by EPCR Commercial and Brand Manager, Anya Alderslade.

The event scrutineer was Lausanne-based solicitor, Jean-Guillaume Amiguet.

2020/21 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP

POOL A (with opponents in brackets)
Bordeaux-Bègles (Dragons, Northampton Saints)
Leinster Rugby (Montpellier, Northampton Saints)
Wasps (Dragons, Montpellier)
Bath Rugby (La Rochelle, Scarlets)
Edinburgh Rugby (La Rochelle, Sale Sharks)
RC Toulon (Sale Sharks, Scarlets)
La Rochelle (Bath Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby)
Sale Sharks (Edinburgh Rugby, RC Toulon)
Scarlets (Bath Rugby, RC Toulon)
Dragons (Bordeaux-Bègles, Wasps)
Montpellier (Leinster Rugby, Wasps)
Northampton Saints (Bordeaux-Bègles, Leinster Rugby)

POOL B (with opponents in brackets)
Exeter Chiefs (Glasgow Warriors, Toulouse)
Lyon (Glasgow Warriors, Gloucester Rugby)
Ulster Rugby (Gloucester Rugby, Toulouse)
Bristol Bears (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Connacht Rugby)
Munster Rugby (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Harlequins)
Racing 92 (Connacht Rugby, Harlequins)
ASM Clermont Auvergne (Bristol Bears, Munster Rugby)
Connacht Rugby (Bristol Bears, Racing 92)
Harlequins (Munster Rugby, Racing 92)
Glasgow Warriors (Exeter Chiefs, Lyon)
Gloucester Rugby (Lyon, Ulster)
Toulouse (Exeter Chiefs, Ulster Rugby)

2020/21 season weekends
Round 1 – 11/12/13 December 2020
Round 2 – 18/19/20 December 2020
Round 3 – 15/16/17 January 2021
Round 4 – 22/23/24 January 2021

Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, 1st leg – 2/3/4 April 2021
Challenge Cup Round of 16 – 2/3/4 April 2021
Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, 2nd leg – 9/10/11 April 2021
Challenge Cup quarter-finals – 9/10/11 April 2021
Semi-finals – 30 April – 1/2 May 2021
2021 finals – Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Challenge Cup final – Friday 21 May
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 22 May

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending