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Saracens field 'immense' bench


'Immense' 5 international bench leaves Saracens fans confident

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.

Then again, with Leinster fielding a back-row of Scott Fardy, Sean O’Brien and Jack Conan, they are not going to be bullied by the English champions.

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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:

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.

Saracens squad:

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.

16. Joe Gray, 17. Richard Barrington, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. Nick Isiekwe, 20. Schalk Burger, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Nick Tompkins, 23. David Strettle

Leinster squad:

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.


16. James Tracy, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Michael Bent, 19. Rhys Ruddock, 20. Max Deegan, 21. Hugh O’Sullivan, 22. Ross Byrne, 23. Rory O’Loughlin

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'Immense' 5 international bench leaves Saracens fans confident
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