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"These are the moments. If Leinster want to be the best - they have to be better."

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

07:34 13 May 2019



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Ruaidhri O'Connor believes that Leinster will be counting the costs of accumulated individual mistakes, as they review why they lost the Champions Cup final to a spirited and physical Saracens.

Irish Independent's rugby correspondent Ruaidhri was in attendance at St James' Park this Saturday for the match, which Leo Cullen's side lost 20-10.

The day will be tinged with regret for Leinster, who believes that while Saracens are an excellent side, that the province did not give a good enough account of themselves in Europe's showpiece event.

“I probably would still back Saracens to come back and win it [if Leinster had gone ten points ahead], but I think Leinster would then ask them a question that they wouldn’t really be asked," said Ruaidhri.

"Leinster were dominant for that first ten minutes after half time. They survived a bit in the first thirty minutes even though they had their moments as well. They were ten nil up."

He also thinks that had Leinster held out a little longer, then the psychological pressure would have been placed on Saracens during the match.

"Then Saracens started to get frustrated, they start looking at their missed opportunities. They start looking at the time it came off Owen Farrell's chest, the couple of knock ons. They can't keep sending Billy Vunipola to intercept Johnny Sexton’s passes all the time, because they know they are onto a winner there. The scoreboard is Saracens' friend if you let it be.

"I don't think that Leinster's bench was good enough to close the game out, either. I do think that if you are going to beat Saracens [...] then the only way you're going to find out is by taking your chances."

It is ultimately a case of Leinster counting the cost of accumulated mistakes over the course of eighty minutes that leaves the boys in blue ruing what might have been.

"These are the moments. If Leinster want to be the best team in the world, they're going to have to be better.

"Their passing needs to be crisper, their decision-making needs to be quicker, because that is the level that they're trying to get at. That is where they expect to be.

"Their headquarters is covered in pictures of them lifting European Cups. It is what they're all about. It is everything they define themselves by."

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