Leinster vs Saracens: English side to reclaim European crown

Leinster vs Saracens: English side to reclaim European crown

Kick-off: 1700, 11/05/2019

Stadium: St James’ Park

TV: BT Sport

Leinster and Saracens have dominated the European Rugby Champions Cup in recent years and are set for a titanic tussle in this season’s final at St James’ Park.

The Irish province are the holders of this trophy, while Sarries claimed outright glory in 2016 and 2017, so big-match experience is not an issue.

However, we just feel the English outfit have been visually more impressive this term, so they get the nod at 83/100 in our initial Leinster vs Saracens prediction.

A Look At Leinster’s Betting Odds

Leinster did beat Saracens 30-19 in last year’s quarter-finals, before going on to grind out a 15-12 triumph over Racing 92 in the Bilbao decider.

That was their fourth outright victory in a decade and it is no surprise to see them back battling it out for top honours in Newcastle again this term.

Leo Cullen’s side powered through a decent pool that also featured Toulouse, Bath and Wasps, winning five games out of six.

However, they were then given a major scare by Ulster in the quarter-finals, before tries by Ross Byrne and Adam Byrne helped them come from behind to snatch a 21-18 success.

Leinster rediscovered their trademark efficiency and accuracy to beat Toulouse 30-12 in the semis and have reliable veterans, such as Jonathan Sexton, Rob Kearney, Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Devin Toner.

However, despite there also being fresher legs, like Tadhg Furlong, Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose, we just fear this is now a battle-weary outfit.

They won’t go down without a fight, but 3/2 for Sarries to oblige by 1-12 points appeals from the Leinster vs Saracens odds.

A Look At Saracens’ Betting Odds

Saracens rattled off six straight victories in a group containing Glasgow, Cardiff and Lyon to head into the knockout stages as top seeds.

Mark McCall’s men then romped to a 56-27 win over the Warriors, before dominating Munster in a 32-16 semi-final success.

Again, there is great experience in this side, but we just see more explosive ball-carriers and creative playmakers to cause Leinster problems.

The Vunipola brothers, Mako and Billy, are backed up by Jamie George, Maro Itoje and George Kruis up front, while Brad Barritt is another battering ram in the backs.

Add on the guile of Liam Williams, Marcelo Bosch and Alex Lozowski, plus the ever-reliable boot of Owen Farrell and there are few chinks in Saracens’ armour.

Mako Vunipola is determined to exorcise the demons of last year’s loss to Leinster, when their hat-trick hopes were left in tatters.

“It did hurt a lot,” the 28-year-old said. “It gave us a kick in the arse for the rest of the season and opened our eyes a bit, in that we probably thought we were something that we weren’t.

“We had to be honest with ourselves, so it was probably the best thing that has happened to us. Leinster showed us there is another step up. It was great for us.

“But this weekend is a new slate, so hopefully we can go out there and put in a better performance than we did that day.”

Let’s finish off our Leinster vs Saracens betting tips by taking 7/5 for the English club to lead at half-time and full-time.

Additional stats

Semi-final results:

LEINSTER 30-12 Toulouse

SARACENS 32-16 Munster

Head-to-head: Leinster 30-19 Saracens, Leinster 43-20 Saracens, Saracens 23-25 Leinster

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