The reigning champions beat Toulouse and will now defend their title against Saracens in Newcastle

Leinster to face Saracens in 2019 European Champions Cup final

Leinster will take on Saracens in this season’s European Champions Cup final after beating Toulouse 30-12 in their semi-final at the Aviva Stadium.

Tries from James Lowe, Luke McGrath and Scott Fardy, as well as a Man of the Match performance from Johnny Sexton in his first Leinster game of 2019, helped the defending champions through to the final in Newcastle on 11 May.

Leinster to face Saracens in 2019 European Champions Cup final

On target: Johnny Sexton kicks a conversion during Leinster’s win (Getty Images)

They will now play Saracens for the fourth time in Europe – having won the previous three encounters. Leinster triumphed in both pool matches between the two teams in the 2010-11 season and beat Saracens 30-19 in last year’s quarter-finals.

Related: Relentless Saracens through to another Champions Cup final

Toulouse took the lead in this semi-final in Dublin with a Thomas Ramos penalty in the fifth minute but after Sexton had equalised five minutes later the French side never retook the lead.

Lowe scored the first try in 14th minute, a superb finish after a period of patient build-up. You can watch the try here…

McGrath grounded the ball for a try from a powerful lineout maul in the 26th minute while Toulouse lock Richie Gray was in the sin-bin and Leinster led 17-6 at the break despite being put under pressure towards the end of the first half.

Fardy scored the third try in the 52nd minute, touching down after Leinster had built pressure from a couple of five-metre lineouts. The ball was spread wide from the second and Fardy eventually burst through the Toulouse defence to score in the corner.

Leinster to face Saracens in 2019 European Champions Cup final

Fine line: Scott Fardy scores Leinster’s third try (Getty Images)

Leinster slotted a couple more penalties to make sure of the win and will travel to Newcastle for the final in three weeks’ time.

Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien, who is leaving Leinster for London Irish next season, was visibly emotional when interviewed by Channel 4 after the match. He said: “It was a tough game for me, it could be the last game in the Avvia for me.”

Still, O’Brien will have the chance to win another European trophy before he leaves Leinster, with the Champions Cup final against Saracens on 11 May at St James’ Park.

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