Sexton reflects on Champions Cup heartbreak with 'big regret'

Sexton reflects on Champions Cup heartbreak with 'big regret'

Johnny Sexton reflected on the European Champions Cup final with "big regret" after Saracens dethroned Leinster with a 20-10 victory at St James' Park on Saturday.

Sarries roared back from 10-0 down in a ferocious decider in Newcastle to regain a trophy they won in 2016 and 2017.

It was sweet revenge for the Premiership champions, who were beaten by the Irish province at the quarter-final stage last season. 

Captain Sexton was left to rue a missed opportunity after Leinster suffered the heartbreak of defeat in a European final for the first time.

"It's a big regret and you'd love to go and play the match again, but you don't," said the World Rugby Player of the Year.

"You never want that to happen in a final, you want to have no regrets.

"And we'll look back at some key moments, especially at the start of the second half, when I just felt we had the upper hand and we didn't quite capitalise on it."

The Ireland fly-half is confident Leo Cullen's side will put the agony behind them, with a Pro14 title still up for grabs.

"I don't think it’s arrogant or over-confident to say that we've been the two best sides in Europe," said the British and Irish Lions playmaker.

"We met at a quarter-final stage last year, obviously we had home advantage that day. Neutral venue [for the Champions Cup final], and they just got the upper hand.

"So we feel we're close to the top. You don't get to a final if you're not near the top. We’ll just take lots of learnings from it, and I think we'll bounce back."

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