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La Rochelle v Leinster - Champions Cup Final - Preview

It's all or nothing on Saturday as Leinster and La Rochelle compete for the biggest club prize in the northern hemisphere in the Champions Cup final.

Irish giants Leinster head to Marseille looking to win what would be a fifth Champions Cup title, while La Rochelle are hoping to go one better than last year’s runner-up place.

Leinster out to prove European dominance

It has been another impressive season from the men in blue at Leinster, with the Irish province looking to be the team to beat once again in the United Rugby Championship.

Finishing top of the standings at the end of the regular season, Leinster have a playoff quarter-final to look forward to when they host Glasgow Warriors on 4th June.

Leinster will be hoping they can take the title of European champions into that game against the Scottish outfit next month, as they focus their attentions on seeing off La Rochelle at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday.

Head coach Leo Cullen, having won three Champions Cup titles during his playing days with Leinster, knows all about what it takes to win these big, one-off, winner-takes-all encounters.

Cullen is blessed with plenty of experienced players in his squad, with the likes of skipper Jonathan Sexton and forwards Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong set to lead from the front.

With a host of Ireland internationals, who just finished behind Grand Slam champions France in the 2022 Six Nations, Leinster are the 1/5 favourites to win Saturday's final.

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La Rochelle want closure on 2021 heartbreak

Having come so close to European glory last season, La Rochelle have proven reaching the 2021 final was no fluke.

Back in the showpiece game of the European club calendar once again, La Rochelle will be hoping to put some closure on that 22-17 defeat to Toulouse.

Les Corsaires have their own Irish head coach looking to get one over on Leinster in the form of ex-Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara.

O'Gara is no stranger to battles with Leinster after playing his entire senior career with their arch rivals Munster.

Having helped La Rochelle get back to the final, O'Gara is certainly proving his credentials as a head coach but he will be determined to make sure La Rochelle get their hands on the trophy this time out.

With a good blend of French and southern hemisphere stars, La Rochelle have got the balance right again this season and shocked many with their 20-13 win over the stars of Racing 92 in the semi-finals.

Weather could play crucial role

La Rochelle coped with the hot conditions in that semi-final and the weather will be something to consider for Saturday's showpiece.

The weather in Marseille this weekend is expected to be as high as 31 degrees celsius; far hotter than the 15 or so degrees Leinster will leave behind them in Dublin.

It looks like the conditions will certainly be in favour of La Rochelle in the south of France and O'Gara's side are 7/2 to make it count by winning Saturday's final.

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