St. James’ Park in Newcastle is the venue for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final between defending champions Leinster and Saracens. Leo Cullen’s men had their Captain’s Run at the stadium today and Cullen, captain Jonathan Sexton and Luke McGrath spoke to the media afterwards.
Head coach Cullen commented: “Selection has been tough over the course of the year, in a good way I think. There’s a couple of guys who had to get some bad news this week. Even though the starting 15 is the same, there were a couple of tweaks along the way and a couple of changes on the bench as well.
“Selection decisions certainly weren’t taken lightly. This 15 did a good job in the semi-final. There’s always a temptation as coaches to tweak that but we’re going with the same team.
“With a team like Saracens, with a very strong set piece, Jack (McGrath) has a lot of experience playing at the highest level and in terms of the way we think the game will unfold, his strengths (off the bench) suit this challenge.
“Andrew Porter’s a little bit unlucky, he picked up the (pectoral) injury and hasn’t really featured the last few weeks. He has trained fully this week and was available but it was just a little bit too tight with him.
“Michael Bent, he’s been so important to us over the course of the season. You think back to some of the games when we’re down 15, 20 players and he’s come up with five scrum penalties. He’s been hugely important to the success of the group over the course of the season.”