Leinster sent crashing out of Europe by Saracens statement of defiance  

Nightmare first period leaves Leo Cullen’s side with too much to claw back despite a spirited second-half performance
Leinster sent crashing out of Europe by Saracens statement of defiance  

BILLY BURST: Saracens' Billy Vunipola is tackled by Ryan Baird and Caelan Doris of Leinster suring Saturday's Heinkeen Champions Cup quarter-final in Dublin.

Leinster 17 Saracens 25


Key Moment: Just 26 minutes in and Saracens were whooping and hollering again at another scrum penalty won. It may have been on halfway but Elliot Daly applied his monster boot and the defending champions eased into a 15-3 lead against the home side in Dublin. Saracens scrum dominance was absolute, and no matter the spirit of the second-half Leinster comeback, the damage was done with two late scrum penalties hammering home the point as the home side ran out of steam.

Talking Point: Leinster’s dream of a league and European double in an unbeaten 2019-20 came crashing down around them at Aviva Stadium as they were first bullied, hassled and harried by a physically and defensively dominant Saracens side in the first half they finished 22-3 in front leaving Leo Cullen’s side with too much to claw back despite a spirited second-half performance. No matter the personnel at Saracens' disposal, the template and culture is a winning one.

Key Man: No Owen Farrell? No problem for Saracens as Andy Goode switched from full-back for a rare outing at fly-half in place of the suspended England captain and looked every inch the man in charge, piling on scoreboard pressure through penalties from the kicking tee and engineering a super try he scored himself and then converted from wide out as the Londoners powered into a 22-3 half-time lead. Goode was not finished there, his last-gasp penalty from close to the right touchline ending any hopes of a Leinster comeback.

Ref Watch: Pascal Gauzere put his mark on this game early with a penalty against Leinster in front of their posts inside the first three minutes to cap a perfect start for the visitors and the French official remained resolute to his policing of the breakdown throughout.

Penalties conceded: Leinster 14 Saracens 10.

Injuries: Leinster lost Robbie Henshaw when the centre did not return from a Head Injury Assessment in the second half.

Next Up: Leinster’s season is at an end and after such an immaculate PRO14 campaign, the province’s campaign has finished on a deeply disappointing note. Saracens move on to the Champions Cup semi-final next weekend against Clermont or Racing 92, their quest for back-to-back European titles still very much alive.

LEINSTER: J Larmour; H Keenan, G Ringrose, R Henshaw (R O’Loughlin, 61- HIA), J Lowe; J Sexton (R Byrne, 65), L McGrath (J Gibson-Park, 61); C Healy (E Byrne, 57), S Cronin (R Kelleher, 42), A Porter (M Bent, 73); D Toner (R Baird, 42), J Ryan; C Doris, W Connors (J van der Flier, 52), J Conan.

SARACENS: E Daly; A Lewington, D Taylor, B Barritt - captain, S Maitland; A Goode, R Wigglesworth (A Davies, 69); Mako Vunipola (R Barrington, 69), J George, V Koch; M Itoje, T Swinson (C Hunter-Hill, 64); M Rhodes (C Clark, 73), J Wray, B Vunipola.

Replacements not used: T Woolstencroft, A Clarey, Manu Vunipola, D Morris.

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)

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