The European Champions Cup final is approaching, with Leinster set to take on Racing 92 in Bilbao in an eagerly anticipated match-up.
Both teams have been in top form throughout the tournament and convincingly reached the final, which will take place this Saturday.
Leinster are the slight favourites heading into the game and are probably in a better run of form than their French opponents, after beating the defending champions Saracens in the quarter-final.
They then convincingly defeated the Scarlets in the semi-final and will be full of confidence going into Saturday’s decisive match.
As for Racing 92, they edged past Munster in the semi-final. After making a very fast start, they were pegged back as Munster piled on the pressure towards the end. However, the French side showed grit, determination and strength to win the game and book a date in the final.
Both sides have world class players and we’ve selected our combined Leinster and Racing 92 XV, only selecting players who are available for the final.
1) Loose-head prop - Cian Healy (Leinster)
The 30-year-old has found the best form of his career over the last 12 months and has been influential on Leinster’s road to the final. He was terrific during the Six Nations and will be expecting another big game on Saturday.
2) Hooker - Sean Cronin (Leinster)
Both teams are not blessed with the world’s best hookers, but Sean Cronin would get the nod in this combined side. He can be so dangerous when he finds space on the field to run into.
3) Tight-head prop - Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)
Furlong is widely considered as the best tight-head prop in world rugby. His performances for Ireland in this year’s Six Nations were nothing short of fantastic and this is one of the easiest choices to make in this team.
4) Second row - Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
Nadarawa is an ideal second rower. He is so quick with his hands and tends to start the majority of the Racing attacks. If Leinster fail to apply pressure on him, then he could wreak havoc.
5) Second row - Ross Molony (Leinster)
The Irish lock has been a regular for Leinster over the last year and has played a good chunk of their Champions Cup campaign. He could have missed out on this position to team-mate James Ryan as both are terrific players.
6) Blind-side flanker - Scott Fardy (Leinster)
Fardy was the man of the match in the semi-final and will be one of the key men to look out for in the final. It is an easy decision to include him in his team.
7) Open-side flanker - Dan Leavy (Leinster)
Leavy was the man of the match in the quarter-final victory and has operated at the highest level this season. He seems to be getting better every game and is not afraid to run at the opposition with purpose.
8) Number 8 - Yannick Nyanga (Racing 92)
Nyanga is one of the most powerful forwards in world rugby. His speed, strength and agility is what makes him so special and Leinster will need to keep him quiet if they want to have a chance to win.
9) Scum-half - Luke McGrath (Leinster)
McGrath is lucky that Maxime Machenaud is ruled out of the final because he would definitely be on this team! McGrath is set to make his first Challenge Cup final appearance.
10) Fly-half - Johnny Sexton (Leinster)
The Irish international has had a phenomenal season so far and is arguably one of Europe’s finest players. He played a huge role for Ireland in the Six Nations and is doing the same for Leinster.
11) Left-wing - Teddy Thomas (Racing 92)
After scoring two tries in the semi-final, Leinster will know who the danger man is going into the final. He was in explosive form in the first half of that semi-final and will be looking to make a similar start on Saturday.
12) Inside-centre - Robbie Henshaw (Leinster)
Henshaw has had his injury problems but he always seems to return as a better player. He is filled with passion and always gives his full effort, which will be required on Saturday.
13) Outside-centre - Garry Ringrose (Leinster)
Ringrose has matured very well over the past year and he has switched his focus to his overall game rather than certain aspects only. His improved defending has been a huge boost for Leinster and that’s what gets him on this team.
14) Right-wing - James Lowe (Leinster)
With Fergus McFadden ruled out of the final, Lowe gets the nod on the wing. He missed the semi-final victory but is expected to be used in Saturday’s final.
15) Full-back - Pat Lambie (Racing 92)
The traditional fly-half is good enough to operate as a full-back and do a terrific job. Lambie has enough talent to cause problems to Leinster.