Leinster and Saracens will meet this Saturday in the Champions Cup final at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park. Irish side Leinster are hoping to secure a fifth European triumph, while Premiership outfit Saracens are hoping to land their third title in four years. The meeting between the two sides is one that many were expecting and hoping for, but how did the two giants end up in the final? We’ve taken a look back at both Leinster’s and Saracens’ road to the final, which started back in October.
12/10/18: Leinster 52-3 Wasps
Leinster began the defence of their Champions Cup crown with a thumping 52-3 eight-try defeat of Wasps.
14/10/18: Glasgow Warriors 3-13 Saracens
Saracens began their Champions Cup campaign with a controversial victory against Glasgow Warriors. The home side were left raging with French referee Mathieu Reynal after two tries were ruled out.
20/10/18: Saracens 29-10 Lyon
Saracens made it two wins from two in Pool 3 with an impressive win over Lyon. The English champions scored four tries and claimed a bonus point thanks to Alex Lewington’s late effort.
21/10/18: Toulouse 28-27 Leinster
Just nine days after the demolition of Wasps, Leinster were upset by Toulouse in a feisty encounter, with the French side edging out a thriller 28-27.
8/12/18: Bath 10-17 Leinster
Leinster got back to winning ways in Europe with an away victory against Bath in December. Wing Jordan Larmour’s interception try proved to be the difference.
9/12/18: Saracens 51-25 Cardiff Blues
The English champions continued their dominance in Pool 3 with a bonus-point comeback victory over Cardiff Blues. Mark McCall’s side were 18-13 down at half time but ran in six second-half tries to secure a third straight win.
15/12/18: Leinster 42-15 Bath
Leinster made up ground on pool leaders Toulouse with another victory against Bath, which also ended the Premiership’s sides hopes of reaching the knockout stages. The Irish side ran in six tries in Dublin in an impressive performance.
15/12/18: Cardiff Blues 14-26 Saracens
The reverse fixture between Cardiff Blues and Saracens was a lot closer. The English side were made to grind out a 26-14 win in Wales.
12/1/19: Leinster 29-13 Toulouse
Leinster moved top of Pool One in the highly anticipated clash against Toulouse with a 29-13 win. Jack Conan, Dave Kearney, Sean Cronin and Adam Byrne all scored for Stuart Lancaster’s side before Cheslin Kolbe went over for the French side late on.
13/1/19: Lyon 10-28 Saracens
Saracens booked their place in the quarter-finals after a bonus-point victory against Lyon in January. Centre Nick Tompkins went over twice, with Jackson Wray and Ben Spencer also getting their names on the scoresheet.
19/1/19: Saracens 38-19 Glasgow Warriors
Mark McCall’s side were the only club to end the pool stages with six wins from six. Saracens booked a home quarter-final with a 38-19 victory against Glasgow Warriors. The two sides would meet in the last eight two months later.
20/1/19: Wasps 19-37 Leinster
Leinster secured a routine win away at Wasps in their final pool game. Tries from Garry Ringrose, Noel Reid and two from Sean Cronin ensured Leinster a home Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster
30/3/19: Leinster 21-18 Ulster
Stuart Lancaster’s side had to dig deep to see off a spirited Ulster side in the quarter-final. Tries from Ross Byrne and Adam Byrne helped Leinster come from behind and book their spot in the last four.
30/3/19: Saracens 56-27 Glasgow Warriors
Saracens demolished Glasgow Warriors with an emphatic seven-try victory. Liam Williams and David Strettle both scored twice, with Brad Barritt, Jamie George and Nick Tompkins also going over for the English side.
20/4/19: Saracens 32-16 Munster
Billy Vunipola put in a man of the match display against Munster as Saracens were the first club to make it to the final. Tries from Michael Rhodes and Vunipola, along with Owen Farrell kicking 22 points, secured a memorable win for Mark McCall’s side.
21/4/19: Leinster 30-12 Toulouse
The Irish side booked their place in the final against Saracens with an impressive win against Toulouse. A dominant performance was capped off by Scott Fardy’s late try.