Leinster keeps Irish dream alive
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Leinster kept alive the dream of an Irish double - Six Nations and European titles.
Leinster ended Saracens dream of three consecutive titles when they beat them 30-19 in Dublin on Sunday.
The impressive-looking Irish province outscored their English rivals by three tries to nil in a comprehensive victory in the weekend's fourth and final quarterfinal.
Things were a lot more clear-cut than the 11-point margin suggested in Dublin.
Leinster, with flank Dan Leavy to the fore, was masterful at the breakdown and won the battle of collisions, showing all the hallmarks of a team boasting a raft of recalled internationals fresh from helping Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam.
An electrifying start saw James Lowe skin Liam Williams down his wing and offload to Isa Nacewa, the Irish province's skipper drawing his man to hand centre Garry Ringrose an easy run-in for the opening try.
Owen Farrell and Marcelo Bosch responded with four penalties for Saracens either side of a conversion and two penalties from Jonathan Sexton.
But Leinster opened the second period with serious intent, Leavy finding Maro Itoje napping at a ruck and sprinting clear for a try, Lowe soon after driven over for the team's third.
Blair Cowan grabbed a consolation for Saracens, but by then the game was long gone. It will be the first time since 2012 that there's no English club in the semi-finals.
"We're delighted to get through to a semifinal," said Sexton. "It's great to get a win against them.
"All these big games come down to small moments. But Scarlets will have no fear, they beat us here in the league semi last year.
"It'll be a tough game again."
Tries: Ringrose, Leavy, Lowe
Cons: Sexton 2, McFadden
Pens: Sexton 3
Pens: Farrell 3, Bosch
Yellow card: Devin Toner (Leinster, 74 - professional foul, kicking the ball out if an opponent's hands)
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Isa Nacewa (captain), 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Rhys Ruddock, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Rory O’Loughlin.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Chris Wyles.
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Ludovic Cayre (France)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)