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

Johnny Sexton hailed the impact of Stuart Lancaster after Leinster claimed their fourth European title with a 15-12 win over Racing 92 on Saturday.

Two late Isa Nacewa penalties saw Leinster beat Racing 92 15-12 to claim a record-equalling fourth European title at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on Saturday.

The Irish province, who matched Toulouse’s four continental triumphs having previously won in 2009, 2011 and 2012, completed their European campaign unbeaten in nine games.

It also meant that Leo Cullen, who won the European Cup three times as a Leinster player, became the first person to lift the trophy both as player and as coach.

Lancaster, who works under Cullen as senior coach, joined the Irish province in 2016, having resigned as England boss in the wake of their disappointing World Cup campaign in 2015, and Sexton said he has made a big impact.

“What a special coach to come in and do what he’s done,” Sexton told Sky Sports.

“He did an unbelievable job with England. That gets overlooked by one result; a result in the World Cup that could have gone either way against Wales.

“However things turn out for a reason and we might not be European Champions today if England didn’t lose that game.”

Sexton admitted that Leinster were totally thrown off their game plan by Racing 92 and had to come up with another way to win.

“The conditions and the way the game panned out was not what we wanted,” added Sexton.

“We wanted to come and play fast with the ball in hand but we were not able to. I think it is satisfying that we have won in different ways throughout the season – there were times during the pool stages where we had to dog it out like against Exeter.

“We then went to another level against Scarlets, and in our minds we wanted to go to another level today – we had a great plan but it all crumbled because we could not win any quick ball or any set piece. It is one of those days where we are just happy to get to the other side of the result.”