Leinster 24 -v- Ulster 18
Leinster, the dominant force in Europe for the last five years, have landed a domestic title that has alluded them for three seasons in a row and in doing so completed a famous double. For this extraordinary group of players no less would have done.
For the last two years Heineken Cup hangovers and primed opposition have tainted what was meant to be their European champions’ party. This year was different. After bowing out in the group stages of the Heineken Cup, because of two defeats at the hands of the majestic Clermont, Leinster’s focus switched to the domestic title that had escaped their greedy grasp at their zenith. Last week’s European victory in the Amlin Cup took on a secondary importance. They enjoyed Friday night’s celebrations but didn’t allow them become weekend long sessions as they licked their Parisse induced bruises and returned to training on Monday setting their sights firmly on Ulster and the difficult task ahead. This was unfinished business. Their opponents for the final had completed a home and away double against them during the regular season and the game would demand the standards that have epitomised Leinster during the Joe Schmidt era, this technically away final in the RDS was his 99th and last game in charge of the province. However, the Ulster defeats earlier in the season were not the main motivating factor for Leinster instead it was the fact that they have been runners-up for the last three seasons in this competition that really irked them. For this uber successful bunch those defeats lingered through the Summer months. All talk this week was about completing the job, finishing the season off to their lofty standards and not leaving a sour taste, and that meant victory – the only fitting send off for Joe Schmidt, Jonathan Sexton and Isa Nacewa. Continue reading