The odds have swung in Leinster's favour since being toppled by today's opponents in last year's final. What a cracking way to launch the Champions Cup quarter-finals
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from anywhere
This weekend’s European Champions Cup quarter-finals start with a bang – a rerun of last year’s final (3pm). Saracens won 20-10 that sunny May day in Newcastle but since then their world has caved in. If they are to end Leinster’s 25-match winning streak this afternoon in Dublin, it will take one of the great European performances.
That’s because of the haemorrhaging of players that followed the salary cap scandal. Nine internationals have moved on, some of them on loan, since Saracens squeezed into the knockout stage back in January. In addition, fly-half and England captain Owen Farrell is suspended following his suspension for a high tackle.
Farrell’s absence means Alex Goode steps up to ten from his preferred full-back position, with 20-year-old Manu Vunipola his understudy on the bench. The starting XV still contains 12 internationals, with Alex Lewington, Michael Rhodes and Jackson Wray – making his 250th appearance for the club – the uncapped trio.
So Saracens’ problems might come deep into the game because their reserve strength doesn’t match the riches in the opposition camp. Josh van der Flier, Man of the Match in Leinster’s Pro14 final win, is one of those consigned to the bench as the Irish province shuffle their vast resources following their 27-5 defeat of Ulster.
Johnny Sexton, World Rugby Player of the Year two years ago, got just 21 minutes in that match and returns to captain a side brimming with class and confidence. They breezed through their European pool with 28 tries and have become savagely hard to score against. They looked only mildly uncomfortable against Ulster’s offloading game, which is not Sarries’ preferred style in any case.
Leinster’s malfunctioning lineout was their chief concern. In the hope of rectifying that, they have recalled Sean Cronin for the clash at the Aviva Stadium, with Ronan Kelleher demoted after struggling with his throwing. Will Connors, surely destined for his Ireland debut this autumn, will bring his chop tackles to the mix at No 7.
Leinster have won three of their past four European meetings with Saracens and eight of their previous nine quarter-finals. Victory today would be their 30th in 37 knockout games in league and Europe over the past decade. Saracens, lest we forget, have won three of the past four European titles. But Leinster have a fifth crown in their sights, which would put them out on their own above Toulouse.
Can they be stopped? Goode certainly thinks so. “We are the last team to beat them and they’re aware of that,” he said. “We hope it sits in their minds that we have the capability to beat them. It’s about us making sure we have the right mindset (so that) we attack the game and don’t just sit back and let them come at us.”
Defeat for Saracens would mean a last European hurrah for Brad Barritt and Richard Wigglesworth, two magnificent players over a prolonged period.
Both men played in last year’s final, when Sarries fought back from 10-0 down to win after tries by Sean Maitland and Billy Vunipola. You can watch highlights of that match below. Today’s winners will meet Clermont or Racing in the semi-finals.
Leinster: Jordan Larmour; Hugo Keenan, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (capt), Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Will Connors, Jack Conan.
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rory O’Loughlin.
Saracens: Elliot Daly; Alex Lewington, Duncan Taylor, Brad Barritt (capt), Sean Maitland; Alex Goode, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Vincent Koch, Maro Itoje, Tim Swinson, Michael Rhodes, Jackson Wray, Billy Vunipola.
How to watch Leinster v Saracens from outside your country
If you’re abroad, but still want to watch your local Champions Cup coverage, like Leinster v Saracens, you can do so by using a VPN – Virtual Private Network. VPNs allow you to get around any geo-blocking by changing your IP address so you appear in a different location and can watch the same legal Champions Cup live stream you would at home.
Our friends at TechRadar have tested hundreds of VPN and recommend ExpressVPN, which is easy to use, has strong security features and allows you to watch on several devices at once, including smart TVs and phones, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs.
Plus, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try it out for a month for free or sign up for an annual plan and get three months free.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from the UK and Ireland
Leinster v Saracens, which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, will be shown live on BT Sport 3 in the UK. If you don’t have a BT contract but want to watch the match, don’t worry because you can still easily watch it online.
That’s because BT Sport has a contract-free monthly pass that allows you to get instant access to all four of their sport channels for just £25.
If you’re from the UK but are overseas when Leinster v Saracens takes place, you can get your normal live stream but you’ll need a VPN – see the information above.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from France
To watch Leinster v Saracens (kick-off 4pm) in France, beIN Sports is the place to go as they are the main rights holders. It costs €15 a month to access the coverage or if you commit to six months you get a discount of €12 a month.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from Europe
If you’re in Austria, Germany, Italy or Switzerland, you can watch Leinster take on Saracens (kick-off 4pm) through the live and on-demand streaming service DAZN.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from the USA
If you live in the States, the official broadcaster of Champions Cup matches is NBC, with matches streamed on NBC Sports Gold so you can watch them anytime and anywhere.
Leinster v Saracens will kick off at 10am EST and 7am on the West Coast.
The NBC Sports Gold Pass for rugby is $79.99 and includes coverage of the Gallagher Premiership, European Champions and Challenge Cups, and Guinness Six Nations.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from Canada
For those in Canada, the live and on-demand streaming service DAZN shows the Champions Cup and you can watch Leinster v Saracens at 7am on the West Coast.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from Australia
For those in Australia, a subscription to digital rugby network RugbyPass allows you to watch Leinster v Saracens at midnight (AEST). Subscriptions start from US$4.99 a month.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from New Zealand
Spark Sport, the live and on-demand streaming service, has the rights to show Leinster v Saracens in New Zealand. It kicks off at 2am on Sunday morning.
It costs $24.99 for a monthly subscription and you can also sign up for a seven-day FREE trial.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from South Africa
SuperSport has the rights to broadcast the Champions Cup in South Africa and you can watch Leinster v Saracens at 4pm on SuperSport CSN and SuperSport Rugby.
There are various DStv packages available that give access to SuperSport, ranging from EasyView, with access to Blitz, to Premium, with all ten sports channels.
Leinster v Saracens live stream: How to watch from elsewhere
EPCR have launched an OTT service, epcrugby.tv, so you can stream live Champions Cup matches outside of its core broadcast territories (UK & Ireland, France, USA, Malta, Spain, Andorra and Sub-Saharan Africa).
It’s €2.99 to watch a single Champions Cup match or you can buy a season pass to watch all of the remaining games of the 2019-20 campaign for €11.99. Or if you want to watch both the Champions and Challenge Cups, it’s €17.99 for a season pass for the rest of 2019-20.
We recommend VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
- Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service)
- Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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