Power was key as Sara­cens claimed Euro­pean crown

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORT -

SARA­CENS’ stun­ning Cham­pi­ons Cup win over Le­in­ster had many dif­fer­ent qual­i­ties which you would ex­pect from a side that is packed with 10 Eng­lish in­ter­na­tion­als.

Their cre­den­tials speak for them­selves win­ning the Euro­pean show­piece three times in the last four years.

This feeds the be­lief that what­ever is thrown at them they will over­come.

They adapt quickly from the dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions thrown at them like the Mario Itoje yel­low card, in­juries to props, and a slow start in the game.

Let’s not for­get who they were play­ing the mighty Ir­ish side Le­in­ster who are also packed with in­ter­na­tion­als.

Lesser sides would have crum­bled but not these Lon­don­ers who must now be ranked as the best side in the rugby pro­fes­sional era.

Yes, they have their is­sues with scru­tiny over their player wage bill, and how they meet the salary cap.

Billy Vu­nipola got stick from the Ir­ish sup­port­ers over his re­cent con­tro­ver­sial so­cial me­dia com­ments.

All this does for a spe­cial side is gal­vanise them fur­ther, they like to stick two fin­gers up to the rest of the top rugby clubs in Europe, with a ‘what­ever you throw at us we will over­come’ at­ti­tude.

In the mod­ern era rugby com­men­ta­tors and the like say the skill has gone out of the game, there is too much kick­ing, and too much con­cen­tra­tion on de­fence.

Watch­ing many games, you could say this is the case.

But there is one thing you do need in to­day’s game and that is power.

Sara­cens’ power was there for all to see.

When the de­cided they would just turn on the power to the max­i­mum the Ir­ish­men could not cope, it was ev­i­dent in de­fence and in at­tack es­pe­cially when Billy Vu­nipola scored his try brush­ing off de­fend­ers or car­ry­ing them over the try line as he scored.

The try may not be for the purists, but it was a cru­cial score at a vi­tal time in the game.

Sara­cens Billy Vu­nipola scores his try against Le­in­ster in the Cham­pi­ons Cup Fi­nal at St James’ Park

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