Tuesday 20 August 2019

Rennie: It's an arm-wrestle but if any side can roll Saracens, it's Leinster

David Kelly

David Kelly

Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie knows he won't get a chance to immediately atone for his side's embarrassing European exit to Saracens - but he wouldn't mind an opportunity to confront the side that finally knock over the Englishmen this term.

And he may be afforded that chance if the Guinness PRO14 final organisers get their dream pairing in the Celtic Park showpiece later this month: a meeting between the host city club and a Leinster side potentially seeking a double-double.

There is a little work to be taken care of first, as Leinster attempt to add back-to-back European titles against Saracens.

Remarkably, this Saturday's Champions Cup decider is a scratch game - soccer finals are far more likely to go to shoot-outs than their oval ball equivalents but few would be surprised if penalties were required at St James' Park.

"You've two sides who like to hang on to the ball forever," says Rennie which, rather than unleashing the prospect of a scoring, soaring spectacle may actually unfurl a spectacular snoring bore.

Rennie's side didn't work hard enough to threaten Saracens' indomitable defence in a quarter-final thumping. He does know, however, that Leinster's standards won't dip.

"It's a real arm-wrestle I think," says the Kiwi.

"You have two sides who are combative and can hang on to the ball forever. There are a lot of international players.

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"We are on three losses to Saracens now, but we felt that if we could play at a tempo then we could stress their big men because we didn't think they would be conditioned as well as us."

That may be the key to Leinster's ability to not just survive but thrive, too.

"Leinster are different because they are prepared to go 40 phases, an inch at a time," adds Rennie.

"I'm not convinced they will change dramatically, but they can play because they have some pretty good athletes.

"I think it is hard to call. Last year I always thought Leinster would win but now you have two giants of Europe and it's a fitting final," he added.

"If any side can roll Saracens, it's Leinster."

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