Saracens and Leinster have both announced their teams for what looks to be the biggest Champions Cup final in years.
The undisputed two best teams in Europe are going to go head-to-head in the final that everyone has wanted for the past five years. What is most promising is that both teams can almost field a full strength team.
Saracens fans have taken to Twitter to show their confidence in their team, particularly given the pack that they are fielding and their bench.
In the absence of Michael Rhodes, Maro Itoje is playing at blindside flanker, with the indomitable Will Skelton and George Kruis making the lock partnership. With Jackson Wray playing at openside flanker, this creates an incredibly physically imposing pack, consisting of three second-rows, alongside effectively two number eights. With the front row of Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Titi Lamositele, it is understandable that the fans are confident in the two-time winners.
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However, one area where the fans do feel that Saracens have the edge is their bench. Mark McCall has a blend of youth and experience to call upon in the match, with a bench consisting of two South Africa and three England internationals.
World Cup winner and former World Player of the Year Schalk Burger will bring a huge amount of nous in a game like this, as will Dave Strettle and Richard Wigglesworth. Nick Isiekwe and Nick Tomkins, both of whom could well have started, can provide an injection of energy in what may be a taxing game.
While Leinster have a starting XV to match Saracens’, and may even be better, they may not be able to boast the impressive bench the same calibre as the London side, and that has been noted by the Sarries fans.
This is what they have said:
One hell of a team and a what a bench as well…c'mon Saracens!
— Michael Marlowe (@mikemarlowe6) May 10, 2019
Amazing Lineup plus what a bench, COYS !!!
— Jim Gooden (@CamelFez) May 10, 2019
Strong as always and an opportunity for old man Stretle to come off the bench and score the 5th try with 10 minutes to go…. am I getting carried away ?
— Stephen Owen (@SteveOHRman) May 10, 2019
What a team and bench!!! ????
— Helen Miller (@SarrieHelen) May 10, 2019
What what a line up! Brad back too. Pack looks immense!
— Mark Hardwicke (@markahardwicke) May 10, 2019
What a team! I guarantee I will have no voice left tomorrow. COYS ???
— Sue Feasey (@FeaseySue) May 10, 2019
The best lineup ever!
— brian edwards (@brianed13288297) May 10, 2019
This is as close to test match standard as club rugby gets, particularly in the northern hemisphere, as this match promises to be one for the ages. In every department where one team may have an advantage, their opponent has an answer, as neither side seems to have any weaknesses.
While Saracens’ bench has been highlighted as impressive, Leo Cullen still has the likes of Jack McGrath, a British and Irish Lion, to call upon, as well as Ireland internationals such as Rhys Ruddock, Ross Byrne and Rory O’Loughlin. There is no shortage of quality, meaning this game may go down to the finest of margins.
15. Alex Goode, 14. Liam Williams, 13. Alex Lozowski, 12. Brad Barritt (c), 11. Sean Maitland, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Ben Spencer, 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Titi Lamositele, 4. Will Skelton, 5. George Kruis, 6. Maro Itoje, 7. Jackson Wray, 8. Billy Vunipola.
15. Rob Kearney, 14. Jordan Larmour, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. James Lowe, 10. Johnny Sexton (c), 9. Luke McGrath, 1. Cian Healy, 2. Sean Cronin, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Devin Toner, 5. James Ryan, 6. Scott Fardy, 7. Sean O’Brien, 8. Jack Conan.
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