Saracens 20 Leinster 10: Saracens player ratings

Patrick Madden runs the rule over the European champions after their final victory

Billy Vunipola carries during Saracens’ final win over Leinster. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty

Billy Vunipola carries during Saracens’ final win over Leinster. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty

 

15 Alex Goode

Rarely tested in the backfield but regularly popped up in the Saracens line on both sides of the ball. A solid performance and he must surely enter the reckoning for an England World Cup place. Rating: 7

14 Liam Williams

We didn’t get to see too much of his electric running and it was a defensive contribution which really caught the eye - his tackle on Ringrose and turnover on 48 minutes, with Leinster in the ascendancy, proved pivotal. Rating: 8

Liam Williams is tackled by James Lowe during his side’s Champions Cup final defeat. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty
Liam Williams is tackled by James Lowe during his side’s Champions Cup final defeat. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty

13 Alex Lozowski

He delivered solid contributions in attack and defence - always a muscular threat carrying on the outside shoulder and part of a rock solid Saracens midfield. Rating: 7

12 Brad Barritt

A quiet but brutally efficient captain’s performance. He carried hard and straight, tackled relentlessly and marshalled a Saracens backline which was rarely broken. Rating: 7

11 Sean Maitland

He was beaten on the inside by Kearney in the build-up to Leinster’s try but was another physical presence with the ball in hand and he did what he’s there to do - score tries. Rating: 6

10 Owen Farrell

A fine performance from Saracens’ talisman. His kicking out of hand was loose at times but he soon took a grip of the game, dictating the tempo, making the first try and proving typically unflinching in defence. Rating: 8

Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje both had big games in Newcastle. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty
Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje both had big games in Newcastle. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty

9 Ben Spencer

The England World Cup hopeful was always tidy enough at the base but rarely threatened round the fringes and his boxkicking was lukewarm. Replaced by Wigglesworth on 55 minutes. Rating: 6

1 Mako Vunipola

Was his usual powerful, dymanic self before being forced off through injury on the half hour mark. It’s testament to Saracens that he wasn’t really missed. Rating: N/A

2 Jamie George

You wonder why England persisted with Dylan Hartley for so long when George is capable of performances like this. Sensational in the loose and watertight at the setpiece - a cornerstone of Saracens’ win. Rating: 8

3 Titi Lamositele

Like Mako Vunipola, he was forced off on the half hour mark. Did plenty of donkey work while on the pitch but didn’t last long enough for a fair rating. Rating: N/A

4 Will Skelton

Skelton has lost 21kgs in the last 18 months and you can see the difference it has made - as well as powerful he was an athletic and mobile presence around the park. Rating: 7

5 George Kruis

Another standout performer, Kruis made 24 tackles and many of them were key - including a fine read on Sexton in the first half which led to a penalty and Saracens’ first points. Rating: 8

George Kruis carries during Saracens win over Leinster. Photograph: David Davies/PA
George Kruis carries during Saracens win over Leinster. Photograph: David Davies/PA

6 Maro Itoje

Itoje was a constant thorn in Leinster’s side at the breakdown, and tackled and carried with his usual blend of power and grace. Quickly made amends for his yellow by helping bludgeon Leinster before Saracens’ first score. Rating: 8

7 Jackson Wray

The unsung hero of the Saracens backrow, Wray did plenty of work in the shadows and his linebreak on 57 minutes led to a penalty, Fardy’s yellow and effectively the game. Rating: 8

8 Billy Vunipola

When he plays like this nobody can live with him. Simply phenomenal on both sides of the ball - a key defensive interception from Sexton on 62 minutes was followed by a barnstorming try five minutes later. Rating: 9

Bench

Losing both starting props after half an hour would kill most teams but Richard Barrington and Vincent Koch fitted in seamlessly and were both hugely impressive in difficult circumstances. Rating: 8

Coach

Mark McCall’s big guns won this game for Saracens but he deserves credit for the way his side managed early injury setbacks and shut Leinster down as the second half wore on. Rating: 7

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