The Scotsman : 2019-05-11

WEEKEND SPORT : 62 : 10

WEEKEND SPORT

10 THE SCOTSMAN Saturday 11 May 2019 SCOTSMAN. COM @ THESCOTSMA­N 36 16 Saracens look to hit new heights as Maitland returns for showdown with Leinster they would also move clear of Leicester and Wasps and become outright holders as England’s most prolific team on the major European stage. Leinster, though, were the last team to beat Saracens in Europe, knocking them out at the quarter- final stage 13 months ago. And t he Irish heavyweigh­ts are also chasing a record fifth European title, beating the mark they jointly hold with Toulouse. “We’ve built prett y go o d momentum over the last year and last couple of years,” said S a r a c e ns a nd England hooker George. “We learnt a huge amount from our loss against Leinster l ast year. But we’re fully aware we need to take it up another level if we want to beat Leinster. It’s a challenge this team is more than ready for.” England prop Mako Vunipola will take his place in Saracens’ starting line- up after shaking off an ankle injur y. Flanker Michael Rhodes misses out because of a back problem but Scotland wing Sean Maitland, pictured, returns after missing the semi- final victor y over Munster last month. Leinster coach Leo Cullen has named an unchanged team from their semi- final win over Toulouse and says his side are not concentrat­ed on the record that will await them if they beat Saracens. “We are playing against a t eam t hat has been at t his stage over the course of the last few seasons and has so much threat from numbers one to 23,” he said. “It is going to be an amazing occasion with two very, very good teams, and it’s a great stadium here as well, so it is all set. It [ record] is there in the background, but it is not something we have focused too much attention on.” CHAMPIONS CUP FINAL Jamie George accepts t hat Saracens will need to “take it up another level” when they bid to become the most successful English club in European Cup history today. Victory over holders Leinster at St James’ Park in Newcastle would see Saracens regain the Heineken Champions Cup. Winners i n 2016 and 2017, TEAMS LEINSTER: R Kearney; Larmour, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton ( capt), Mcgrath; Healy, Cronin, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, Fardy, O’brien, Conan. Tracy, J Mcgrath, Bent, Ruddock, Deegan, O’sullivan, R Byrne, O’loughlin. Subs: SARACENS: Goode; Williams, Lozowski, Barritt ( capt), Maitland; Farrell, Spencer; M Vunipola, George, Lamositele, Skelton, Kruis, Itoje, Wray, B Vunipola. Gray, Barrington, Koch, Isiekwe, Burger, Wiggleswor­th, Tompkins, Strettle. Subs:

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