James Ryan admits that Leinster are facing the form team in Europe in Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final, but believes that his side’s experience can give them an edge.
Saracens remain unbeaten in Europe this season and are eager to reclaim their European crown, having won it in 2016 and 2017, before Leinster dethroned them last year.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Ryan conceded that Leinster will have to be at their very best if they are to overcome the English side.
"It is a real test," he said.
"I think Saracens are the in-form team in Europe, they’re the only unbeaten team and have won all six from six.
"Defensively they’re so good, they only conceded three tries in the quarter and the semi, so they looked hugely ruthless and efficient in the knock-out stages.
"I think we’re well aware that it’s going to need a season’s best performance this weekend.
"They’re a very fit team and they have a huge emphasis on winning the small moments and winning the scraps, so when they do get those little opportunities they’re ready to pounce on them.
"We had a good training week last week and I think we’re aware of the quality that Saracens have but we’re confident too.
"We’ve had a pretty steady progression since the quarters so hopefully we can keep improving and we’ll see where we’re at."
While Ryan refused to dwell on last year’s final triumph over Racing 92, he remains confident that if his side play to the best of their ability, they’ll have enough about them to retain the Champions Cup.
"While last year was great that has been put well behind us now and with guys like Seanie [O’Brien] leaving at the end of the season this is a great opportunity for us to leave those guys out on a high.
"There’s a great belief in most of the squad. We’ve got that belief from the success last year and some of the leaders we have throughout the team that are driving thing every week.
"We’ve plenty of self-belief but at the same time we know that we’re going to have to be pretty nailed on to get a result."
Follow Leinster v Saracens (5pm) with our live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now App or listen to live coverage on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.