We’re good enough to win the double roars Saracens’ Maro Itoje
PUBLISHED: 11:59 16 May 2019
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The sweat had barely been swept from his brow before Maro Itoje was already considering a double for Saracens.
The 20-10 success over Leinster in Newcastle brought part one, the Heineken Cup, but there is still the small matter of retaining their Premiership title to come in the next few weeks.
And refreshingly for a professional athlete, Itoje was not trotting out the usual cliches.
"We normally say we take it game by game but we have a high quality team," admitted the former Harpenden St George's pupil. "Yes, we have to take it as it comes, but we have a team that is good enough.
"We just need to do it."
Whatever the outcome of that battle it is unlikely to be a ferociously contested as European rugby's biggest crown.
The contest was worthy of the occasion and as physically tough as any test match as the heavyweight giants slugged it out toe-to-toe.
Itoje said: "It was a truly special game and we spoke about not taking these games for granted.
"We may have been here a few times now but these are the moments you don't get back in your life and I'm just so proud to be part of this team and to get the business done.
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"Leinster are the best team we've played against, certainly at club level, for a very long time.
"They brought everything today and everything was joined up so we had to be special.
"We didn't play as well as we would have liked. We wanted to start the game better, we wanted to start the second half a bit better but we showed loads of character, loads of resolve.
"Your first European Cup is always special as it is the first but this one is a very close second, simply because of who it was against."
Ironically the transformation of Saracens only began when Itoje himself was off the pitch for 10 minutes at the end of the first half.
"We played our best rugby when I was off the pitch. It was all part of the master plan of course," joked the 24-year-old
"It was frustrating as you never want to be sin-binned in a game like this but that's when the boys really turned it on.
"I just tried to make a difference when I came back on.
One man who certainly made a difference was the scorer of the winning try, Billy Vunipola.
"Billy's an animal," said Itoje. "He's shown a lot of character but he's a tough guy and he showed up in abundance."