Saracens lock George Kruis felt his side’s Heineken Champions Cup Final success against Leinster Rugby at St James’ Park on Saturday was testament to the togetherness of the English club’s squad.
The England forward completed 27 tackles, second only to Saracens captain Brad Barritt (28), in a bruising European classic in which wing Sean Maitland and No.8 Billy Vunipola scored tries in a 20-10 win.
In a tactical battle, there were a number of key moments, but Maitland’s try on the cusp of half-time and a turnover by Kruis to repel a promising Leinster Rugby attack shortly after the restart really saw the eventual champions take control.
Kruis, 29, said: “Winning the turnover just after half-time was big. We had a real mental boost before half-time and then right after it when we managed to win that turnover.
“When Maro [Itoje] went to the sin bin, we knew we had to make that moment for us too and the response from all of the lads was fantastic.
“We have a lot of belief in this squad.”
— George Kruis (@GeorgeKruis) May 11, 2019
More than 40 players have represented Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup this season and Kruis revealed that there is a real unity in the camp.
He added: “The last four or five minutes were some of the toughest, but most enjoyable games of rugby I have ever played in.
“There is a lot of love between this squad. We’re in a great place right now. The teams are doing well; the second and first teams are succeeding, and all of the lads have put in a great shift and worked hard for this.
“It probably sounds a bit clichéd, but this really is a squad effort and beyond – the love the non-playing 23 have shown in the build-up to the Heineken Champions Cup final has been unbelievable.”