As it happenedended1522607299

Leinster vs Saracens LIVE: European Champions Cup reign ends as Sarries are beaten in quarter-finals

Follow the latest from the European Champions Cup quarter-final in Dublin

Jack de Menezes
Aviva Stadium
Sunday 01 April 2018 11:13
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Leinster take on Saracens at the Aviva Stadium for a place in the Champions Cup semi-finals
Leinster take on Saracens at the Aviva Stadium for a place in the Champions Cup semi-finals

Saracens put their European crown on the line on Sunday when they take on Champions Cup favourites Leinster at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, but will have to do so without a number of the players who helped them to the title last season.

Owen Farrell has been declared fit to start after recovering from a thigh strain, but Saracens are without influential back-row players in Billy Vunipola and Michael Rhodes, and well as Australian heavyweight lock Will Skelton.

Leinster meanwhile are able to recall all of their Six Nations Grand Slam winners that were given the week off last weekend, with the likes of Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose all returning two weeks after their Twickenham triumph over England.

Follow the live action below...


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What time does it start?

Leinster vs Saracens kicks off at 15:30 on Sunday 1 April.

Where can I watch it?

The match will be shown live on BT Sport 2 from 15:00.

Teams

Leinster: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Isa Nacewa (c), James Lowe; Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, James Ryan, Scott Fardy, Dan Leavy, Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: James Tracy, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Joey Carbery, Rory O'Loughlin.

Saracens: Alex Goode; Liam Williams, Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt (c), Sean Maitland; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Juan Figallo; Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Nick Isiekwe, Schalk Burger, Jackson Wray.

Replacements: Schalk Brits, Richard Barrington, Titi Lamositele, Dominic Day, Blair Cowan, Ben Spencer, Alex Lozowski, Chris Wyles.

1522578742

Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of today's final European Champions Cup quarter-final between Leinster and Saracens, brought to you live from the Aviva Stadium.

We're already set up in Dublin for what promises to be a mammoth tie between two of Europe's real heavyweights, with tournament favourites Leinster hosting the reigning champions Saracens at their second home - even though the game is technically being played at a neutral venue.

We'll bring you all the previews you'll need ahead of kick-off plus any late changes, with the action set to get underway at 15:30.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 11:32
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Here's the two sides that were announced on Thursday by Leinster's Leo Cullen and Saracens' Mark McCall, although they are allowed to make changes to the side if necessary until 14:30.

Leinster: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Isa Nacewa (c), James Lowe; Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, James Ryan, Scott Fardy, Dan Leavy, Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: James Tracy, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Joey Carbery, Rory O'Loughlin.

Saracens: Alex Goode; Liam Williams, Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt (c), Sean Maitland; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Juan Figallo; Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Nick Isiekwe, Schalk Burger, Jackson Wray.

Replacements: Schalk Brits, Richard Barrington, Titi Lamositele, Christian Day, Blair Cowan, Ben Spencer, Alex Lozowski, Chris Wyles.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 12:00
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We will of course keep an eye on Owen Farrell, who came into this match rated as 50-50 by McCall and has been struggling with a thigh injury since England's Six Nations defeat against Ireland two weeks ago.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 12:20
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With Farrell fit, it sees the renewal of one of the biggest friendly rivalries in world rugby. In Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell, we have two of the leading fly-halves - and players - in the game, with the pair holding the utmost respect for each other following their exploits on the Lions tour last summer.

Sam Peters looked at the impact that Farrell will have on Saracens and how he will go up against Sexton.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 12:40
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The atmosphere is building nicely around the ground, with plenty of Saracens fans making the short journey over the Irish Sea this morning. They're in optimistic mood too, having spoken to a few on the way in to the ground, although I'm not so sure I agree with them.

A look down the Leinster team sheet reads almost exactly like the Irish side, and bar a few Munster stalwarts and a Bundee Aki here and there, this is pretty much a Grand Slam winning team.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 13:26
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There will also be plenty of eyes on Saracens captain Brad Barritt, given that the centre had a metal plate inserted into his cheek THIS week after suffering a clash of heads last weekend in the win over Harlequins.

Here's what he had to say about it:

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 13:35
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Clermont 9-7 Racing 92

An update in from France where Clermont are leading thanks to three penalties from Morgan Parra. However, Racing have just scored one of the tries of the tournament through Leone Nakarawa, with a brilliant, jinking break from Marc Andreu and a barracking run from hooker Camille Chat leading to the ball being pinged out to the Fijian lock to gallop through a hole in the Clermont line and go over next to the posts.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 13:38
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Clermont 14-10 Racing 92

And just like that, the game comes alive! Maxime Machenaud put Racing into the lead with a penalty after Nick Abendanon is caught in possession, only for Clermont to come storming back. Parra breaks through the line and looks outside him, and floats a beautiful 20m pass out to Peter Betham who picks up excellently and fends off the defence to score in the corner. What a game this is turning in to.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 13:46
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Clermont 14-13 Racing 92

Machenaud adds another penalty to send the sides in at half-time with just one point between them.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 13:53
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Clermont 17-16 Racing 92

No sooner is the action back underway in Clermont than there's points on the board. Machenaud kicks his third penalty of the day to put Racing in front, but Clermont nearly hit back immediately again as Abendanon comes within a whisker of scoring, only to ground the ball short of line by millimeters. Referee Wayne Barnes brings them back for a penalty though and Parra kicks the home side back in front.

Jack de Menezes1 April 2018 14:14

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