Johnny Sexton v Owen Farrell and other key battles that could decide Leinster versus Saracens

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Four-time winners and defending champions Leinster take on 2016 and 2017 winners Saracens in the Champions Cup final on Saturday.

The Dublin side are looking to become the first team in history to lift the European trophy five times, while Saracens are eyeing a third title in four seasons.

Here’s our key battles ahead of the decider.


Vunipola was England’s leading light against Ireland in the Six Nations, and it is hoped his recent solid form will be transferred on to the European stage against an in-form Leinster side.

A devastating performer in the loose, the Saracens man is a totemic presence and will come up against the best No3 in the world in Furlong.

The imposing Leinster player may have the edge in the scrum, but he’ll need plenty of assistance from Cian Healy and Sean Cronin to get the upper hand on a dominant Sarries forward unit.

Could have a significant bearing on the match.


Two quality players who consistently produce big numbers each game.

Both players are different but primed to be future captains for both club and country.

Itoje is a better breakdown threat and pushes the boundaries more with referees, but Ryan is more athletic and brings immense physicality to the contest.

If a Lions team was to be selected tomorrow, Itoje and Ryan would be in the match-day squad.

At 24 and 22 respectively, they are sure to be stars for years to come.

Leinster Rugby v Bath Rugby - Heineken Champions Cup


Farrell has been in impeccable form since the Six Nations and his on-field presence is a threat to opposition.

Sexton, meanwhile, looked fresh against Toulouse after returning from a quad injury. When he plays well, so does everyone around him.

Both Farrell and Sexton are similar players – feisty, intelligent and excellent decision makers.

Although the Leinster star’s kicking has been off colour, he can still cause serious damage with ball in hand.

Will be central to Saturday’s result.


Conan has brought his game to another level and finally fulfilled the talent he has always promised.

Vunipola missed last season’s Champions Cup quarter-final in Dublin, but was in majestic form in the semi-final win over Munster.

Both players have a priceless ability to get their sides on the front foot, whether it’s exploding off the back of scrums, carrying or simply hauling down opposition attackers.

If Leinster were to win and Conan was to outperform Vunipola, he would be asking serious questions about Ireland’s No8 jersey for the World Cup.

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