Johnny Sexton hails Stuart Lancaster's impact after Leinster Champions Cup win

Toner right and Ryan know each other well from their time together with Ireland

Toner right and Ryan know each other well from their time together with Ireland

Racing regained possession immediately from the restart, piled on the pressure but their final drop goal was put wide with clock in the red.

Wicklow man Leo Cullen made history today as the first rugby player to win the European Champions Cup as both manager and player.

Saturday's final could have gone either way as Racing were never behind until Isa Nacewa's 79th-minute penalty won the game for Leinster.

By way of further gloss to their landmark day, Leinster also became only the second team after Saracens to win all nine of their European Champions Cup games in a season, with a Pro14 semi-final against Munster up next.

However, with the game tied at 12-12, Racing will have reason to wonder what could have been if not for the misjudgment of Teddy Thomas.

Tales had been a late call-up to Racing's matchday 23 when Dan Carter was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury, and he wasn't left on the bench for long.




The Springbok would not be able to return, meaning Racing had effectively lost two fly-halves before a point had been scored and thrusting Tales into the action.

A high Garry Ringrose tackle following Lambie's early injury saw Teddy Iribaren, deputising for the injured Maxime Machenaud at scrum-half, open the scoring with a penalty in a tight game where defence was the victor and wide, expansive attack never an option.

The Irish, however, benefited from Racing's lack of discipline and Nacewa slotted the penalties home after Sexton had struggled with his kicking.

Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Sexton admitted it was a hard-earned victory to complete an unbeaten season in Europe.

With 10 minutes to play, Leinster brought down a maul and it was the unheralded Iribaren, who previously played for Montpellier and Brive, who booted Racing into the lead with his fourth penalty.

There was a similar outcome less than five minutes later as the New Zealand-born wing punished the French side for getting caught offside after Garry Ringrose had taken his side into the 22.

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