Johnny Sexton: Leinster look forward to biggest test in Champions Cup final

Johnny Sexton scored 18 points as Leinster cruised past the Scarlets at a sun-drenched Aviva Stadium. Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Leinster fly-half Johnny Sexton was able to look forward to a special occasion in Bilbao next month after helping the Irish province to a comfortable win over Scarlets in the Champions Cup semifinal in Dublin.

Sexton scored 18 points and capped an immense performance with a try on the hour mark as Leinster continued their quest for a first European Cup triumph since 2012.

Next up for the unbeaten favourites will be their "biggest challenge" yet as they face either the playmaker's old club Racing 92 or arch rivals Munster in the final in northern Spain on May 12.

"They're both quality teams, no matter who plays it's going to be a very tough game," Sexton said. "Racing, champions a couple of years ago in France and Munster, if we play against Munster it will be a very special game for all of us.

"Racing more so for me than the rest of us. It's going to be a tough game no matter who [we play]."

On whether this Leinster team compares to that which won three European Cup titles between 2009 and 2012, Sexton added: "We'll find out in a couple of weeks.

"When you come to a final, anything can happen. We know that. We've been underdogs before in finals and won, we've been favourites and lost. You need to be humble and realise everything is about our preparation now."

Teammate Rob Kearney added that while responsibility will be on the elder statesmen to steer the team on the road to Bilbao, Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam victory has provided Leinster's youngsters with vital experience.

"There's an onus on the older guys to lead the preparation, going into those big games and try not to change too much," Kearney said. "We prepared really well this week, so we'll try really hard not to do anything too different for the final.

"But there's an onus on the young lads to step up as well -- a lot of them will have tasted Grand Slam success, which will be really important and beneficial for them going into the final."

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac, meanwhile, is determined to make amends by getting back to the the Aviva Stadium by reaching the PRO14 final where they could face Leinster once again.

"We talked about that in the changing room," he said. "That is our run in Europe this year finished. We will take satisfaction once the dust settles in making the semifinals, clearly be determined to go a step further next year.

"But now we are focused on PRO14. Rugby is a funny old game. If things go our way and we work hard over the next four weeks, who knows, we could be back at the Aviva getting a second crack at a very good Leinster side."

Scarlets captain Ken Owens added: "They were good. They have probably one of the best sides around, if not the best at executing a game plan. Johnny Sexton spoke during the week of the lessons they learnt from playing us last year in the semi and to be fair they executed their game plan and dominated the game."