Repeat Of Last Year’s Final
We’re set for a replay of the 2018/19 final, however, only this time the situation is very different. Saracens’ domestic points deduction for breaking the financial fair play rules has seen a massive exodus of players out of the club, and so now the Irish hosts come into this one as strong favourites.
That includes as many as nine first team players; George Kruis, Ben Spencer, Liam Williams and Will Skelton have all left to name a few, while the likes of Ben Earl, Max Malins, Nick Isiekwe, Nick Tompkins and Alex Lozowski are all going out on a season long loans.
That does mean that fifteen senior players have signed new contracts at the club beyond the 2020/21 campaign, with that including England and British & Irish Lions internationals Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell, although Farrell will miss out after his five match ban.
However, even without their points deduction they’d still be behind Exeter at the head of the table, with seven defeats from their 13 outings this season, including three from seven since the return from the COVID break.
Indeed, each of those did come on the road at Bristol and Sale, while the other was hosting current second in the league Wasps, but it’s hardly as if this next fixture is going to be any easier, especially without linchpin Farrell after he received that huge five-game ban.
Leinster Half Time/Full Time
Leinster look to be in spectacular form and recently lifted a record seventh Pro14 title, as well as the competition’s first three-in-a-row.
Indeed, it was mightily impressive given they won all 17 games in that competition and in fact, when coupled with their unbeaten performance in the European Champions Cup tournament, they’ve now won 25 matches on the bounce since mid-May last year.
That’s a ridiculous record and one that certainly puts them in the driving seat for this encounter.
Interestingly, the Irish side have been behind in just 121 minutes of their 17 Pro14 games this season and so you struggle to see how a weakened Saracens outfit are going to get a look in.
Leinster have won 29 out of their 32 knockout games when ahead at halftime too, while given the English outfit have failed to be ahead at the break in each of their last nine defeats, that looks the way to go in this one at a healthy price.