Leinster Do It For The Fourth Time

Leinster Do It For The Fourth Time

Leinster Do It For The Fourth Time

The Champions Cup final was an extremely tense affair, but Leinster managed to come through the nail biting fixture successfully, beating Racing 92 15-12 in order to secure a record equalling fourth European crown. They in effect completed a clean sweep of European rugby and while the play wasn’t the swashbuckling type many may have expected, it was full of determination, desire and commitment, in what was an extremely hard-fought victory in Bilbao.

Right up until the 70th minute, the two sides couldn’t be separated as they were tied at 9-9 following three penalties each. Then, disaster struck for Leinster as Racing managed to poke their noses in front through a fourth successful penalty struck by Teddy Iribaren. With penalties being the deciding factor, Leinster may have thought their dreams of equalling Toulouses’ record of four European Cups was slipping away, before Isa Nacewa replaced Johnny Sexton on kicking duties.

Nacewa, the Leinster captain who is set to retire imminently, secured victory with two successful penalty kicks in the final six minutes of the game. Racing did have a chance to take the tie into extra time as Remi Tales hit a drop goal, but he unfortunately hooked it wide, and Racing saw their chances disappear after they had in fact led just a matter of minutes before. This is where everyone can see the relevance of in-play betting, as those Leinster fans who stuck to their guns, would have made a killing. For those avid fans who are interested in future match betting, should review Betting.com’s vast directory of online betting sites to place their wagers.

Leinster’s victory in the final also saw them match the achievement made by Saracen’s in maintaining a 100% record throughout the tournament. They needed to call on all their resources in order to make it possible and they showed plenty of character throughout the competition, especially in the final against a Racing 92 side who lost Dan Carter to a hamstring injury just minutes before kick-off.

Victory for Leinster saw head coach Leo Cullen become the first man to win the trophy as both a player and a coach, which in itself is a great achievement. It also provided a great boost for his number two, Stuart Lancaster, as well. Lancaster’s reputation suffered after he oversaw a poor World Cup campaign with England in 2015, but since then he has managed to rebuild his reputation, and this is another step in the right direction for the 48-year-old.

Racing probably felt that they were hard done by, especially after being down to their third-choice fly-half after only three minutes. They did, however, more than hold their own, and managed to prevent Leinster getting into their usual rhythm. At one stage they did seem like they were on their way to securing somewhat of a surprise victory as they were 12-9 ahead, but as tiredness set in, they lost focus and discipline, and they were duly punished by Leinster.

It was a great performance by Leinster, if it wasn’t all that eye-catching. In the past we have seen them come from behind in dramatic fashion, we have seen them demolish teams, but today they showed another side to their game. There was real grit about their play, they showed they had the heart to keep fighting, and in doing so they got their just rewards.