After defeating Racing Metro 92 (Le Plessis Robinson, France), Leinster Rugby (Dublin, Ireland) are the new European rugby kings. In a thrilling final, the Irish club took over in the last minutes of the game to claim their fourth European Rugby Champions Cup.
Racing 92 12 – 15 Leinster Rugby
In front of a crowd of 52,282 in Bilbao, Leinster tied Toulouse for the most European titles in history (2009, 2011 and 2012).
A close game with no try
The pace of the game is slow and both teams are playing very well in defense. Teddy Iribaren (Racing 92) is playing at a high level, scoring 4 out 5 penalty kicks (4e, 22e, 45e, 71e). In Bilbao, the favorite team, Leinster, is not playing at its usual level of performance. Despite being less decisive (2 penalty kicks missed 49e, 58e), Jonathan Sexton, one of the best player of the team, kept Leinster alive through the game (17e, 39e, 54e).
However, with their experienced players, Leinster was pushing Racing 92 more and more into mistakes. In a dramatic finish, Leinster scored two penalty kicks in the row (74e, 79e) and the captain, Isa Nacewa, makes to deliver the goods. This was it, the Irish team took the lead for the first time at the 78th minutes and kept the advantage until the end!
Man of the match – James Ryan
At the age of 21, the Irish player is already one of the best in the world at his position. With his dominant physical dominance and his ability to use his body, James Ryan is a young player on the rise. During this final, he showed an amazing tackle technique and also a big presence against Racing 92 players. We will for sure, see him in the next years at the top international competitions.
• • •
After finishing respectively second and first of their pools, Racing 92 and Leinster Rugby won their games during the knock out stage in order to reach the final. Take a look back at their successful path to the final:
Clermont ?? 17 – 28 Racing 92 ??
Quarter-final – 01. April 2018
Racing 92 ?? 27 – 22 Munster ??
Semi-final – 22. April 2018
Leinster Rugby ?? 30 – 19 Saracens ??Quarter-final – 01. april 2018
Leinster Rugby ?? 38 – 16 Scarlets ??
Semi-final – 21. April 2018