Saracens 19-30 Leinster: Holders out of the Champions Cup

Frustration for Owen Farrell of Saracens
Frustration for Owen Farrell of Saracens

Stuart Lancaster's Leinster extinguished English interest in the Champions Cup by inflicting a 30-19 defeat on reigning champions Saracens at the Aviva Stadium.

The Irish province and tournament top seeds will face the Scarlets in the semi-finals at the same ground - most likely on Saturday, April 21 - after completing a conclusive victory in Dublin.

Ireland openside Dan Leavy was outstanding to pick up where he left off in the Grand Slam-clinching win at Twickenham a fortnight ago, crowning his performance with a terrific 47th-minute try that ultimately swept the match beyond Saracens' reach.

Garry Ringrose and James Lowe also touched down to confirm Leinster's dominance and it was a fully deserved victory for the team whose senior coach is former England boss Lancaster. Leinster played the better attacking rugby from start to finish.

Saracens' doggedness ensured they were never put to the sword and trailing 13-12 at half time they had hope of continuing their quest for a record-equalling third successive European crown deeper into the knock-out phase.

A try for Blair Cowan in the 64th minute revived Saracens spirits after Leinster built a commanding lead, but the wall of blue shirts refused to crack again even though it was the visitors from across the Irish Sea who were ascendant throughout the final quarter.

Mako Vunipola, who saw his brother Billy ruled out by a broken arm, was magnificent but he was swimming against the tide as the only Aviva Premiership club in the quarter-finals bowed out.

Saracens had only themselves to blame when their line cracked as early as the fourth minute, Liam Williams and Jackson Wray falling off Lowe before Isa Nacewa tore down the left touchline and fed Ringrose the scoring pass.

Despite the early setback, the defending champions dominated possession with Vunipola shouldering the bulk of the carrying workload, but they struggled to make any decisive headway against a resolute home defence.

Three penalties from Owen Farrell, who passed a fitness test on a thigh injury to start at fly-half, left Saracens trailing 10-9 at the half-hour mark as a scrappy match weaved an uncertain path.

The tension mounted as Johnny Sexton rifled over three points only to then interfere with the ensuing restart by kicking the ball away, enabling Marcelo Bosch to hit the mark from the halfway line.

Alex Goode's elusive running was causing problems from full-back and one run swept Saracens deep into opposition territory only for Leinster to defend a close-range line-out.

The Irish province raced out of the blocks in the second half and in eight minutes they had amassed 10 points underpinned by a brilliantly worked try for Leavy, who combined with James Ryan close to the ruck to open up a hole that he galloped through.

Leinster's onslaught continued with Sexton attacking down the left wing before the wall eventually found Lowe, who was carried over the line by his team-mates.

A line-out drive produced Saracens' first try of the afternoon with Cowan touching down, but despite the fallen champions' best efforts they could make no further inroads.

Related rugby union links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Buzz (left) on his way to victory at Newbury1

Monday's racing preview

Keith Hamer says Buzz can scoop a big pot for a Monday in the £75,000 32Red Middle Distance Series Final Handicap at Kempton on Monday.

We look ahead to the latest round of matches in the Nations League
2

Monday's Nations League preview

The Nations League continues on Monday with the Netherlands aiming to join the final four. Tom Carnduff has three best bets.

Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring for England against Croatia at Wembley3

England favourites for Nations League

England’s comeback victory over Croatia has seen them installed as the 9/4 favourites to win the inaugural UEFA Nations League next summer.

Check out the Daryl Jacob column4

Daryl Jacob: Sceau good

Sceau Royal made a winning return to action at Cheltenham to leave our columnist eagerly-anticipating a Sandown showdown with Altior next.

Check out today's Paper Talk5

Paper Talk: Man Utd eye Pickford

Manchester United could target £60m Jordan Pickford as a replacement for David de Gea, according to The Sun.

Most Read

Buzz (left) on his way to victory at Newbury1

Monday's racing preview

Keith Hamer says Buzz can scoop a big pot for a Monday in the £75,000 32Red Middle Distance Series Final Handicap at Kempton on Monday.

We look ahead to the latest round of matches in the Nations League
2

Monday's Nations League preview

The Nations League continues on Monday with the Netherlands aiming to join the final four. Tom Carnduff has three best bets.

Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring for England against Croatia at Wembley3

England favourites for Nations League

England’s comeback victory over Croatia has seen them installed as the 9/4 favourites to win the inaugural UEFA Nations League next summer.

Check out the Daryl Jacob column4

Daryl Jacob: Sceau good

Sceau Royal made a winning return to action at Cheltenham to leave our columnist eagerly-anticipating a Sandown showdown with Altior next.

Check out today's Paper Talk5

Paper Talk: Man Utd eye Pickford

Manchester United could target £60m Jordan Pickford as a replacement for David de Gea, according to The Sun.

Racing Tips

Nap Of The Day

Daily Nap: Get on Grange

Ben Linfoot heads to Kempton's evening card on Monday for the Sporting Life Daily Nap and he's putting his faith in a course winner.

Check out our free horse racing selections and preview for today's action

Tuesday's racing preview

Bobby K is Anita Chambers' best bet at Lingfield and she has a tip for every race in the UK.

Buzz (left) on his way to victory at Newbury

Monday's racing preview

Keith Hamer says Buzz can scoop a big pot for a Monday in the £75,000 32Red Middle Distance Series Final Handicap at Kempton on Monday.

Next Race Off

17:40 Marseille
2
(3)
Colday
J: C Soumillon
1
(6)
Valentino's Day
J: M Waldhauser
4
(7)
Hautot
J: A Crastus

Football Tips

We look ahead to the latest round of matches in the Nations League

Monday's Nations League preview

The Nations League continues on Monday with the Netherlands aiming to join the final four. Tom Carnduff has three best bets.

Royal Line (right) pulls clear to win the November Handicap

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in November 2018.

Get your bets on!

Our best bets

Check out all of our available betting tips and previews of the forthcoming sporting action.