Saracens boss McCall hails Vunipola for 'doing talking on the field'

Annette Crawford
May 16, 2019

Saracens deserved their clinical triumph but Leinster will regret the loss of control that effectively swung the contest in the crucial minutes before and after the interval, a 10-0 lead simply frittered away.

Saracens fullback Alex Goode has been named European Player of the Year 2018 after a stellar season for his club.

A try by Scotland winger Sean Maitland and a conversion and penalty by England fly-half Owen Farrell drew the Londoners level by half-time and proved the springboard for their third Champions Cup crown in four years. "They were very clear on what we needed to do just a little bit better".

Leinster scored 10 points without reply in the first half, Tadhg Furlong crashing over in the first half just after Maro Itoje was sin-binned for straying offside twice as Saracens defended for their lives.

Unsurprisingly, Saracens coach Mark McCall, now a three-time European victor and the competition's most successful Irish coach, agreed that the revival before half-time was crucial. When things go against us it galvanises us.

'It was nearly like the Maro yellow card released us and allowed us to play our game, and it's pleasing when you can have a reaction, ' said man-of-the-match Barritt after Leinster were denied a record fifth triumph. More importantly, the way the team responded to those key messages, because a message is only as good as the guys who follow it, and they were phenomenal'.

In denying Cullen's Leinster what would have been a record fifth title, Saracens became only the fourth team to complete a hat-trick of Champions Cup wins, following Toulouse, Leinster and Toulon.

Captain Sexton was left to rue a missed opportunity after Leinster suffered the heartbreak of defeat in a European final for the first time.

The 41-year-old said: "We're obviously very gutted. Sometimes, players like Brad don't get the headlines they deserve", McCall said.

Farrell opened Saracens' account by landing a penalty just before the break, and then they hit Leinster by scoring a try on the stroke of half-time.

Headcoach, Leo Cullen offered his reflections on the game.

"It was a ferocious match, we never backed down, but Saracens did what they do best", he said. And as we've seen on countless occasions, when a team is trying to chase a game against them, it's very hard because they are so aggressive in the middle of the field. They strangled us in the last 20 minutes.

"We need to dust ourselves off now, we can talk about so many different parts of the game".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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