LEINSTER COACH Joe Schmidt paid tribute to his team after their 42-14 win over Ulster in the Heineken Cup final yesterday.
A clinical Leinster side crossed five times in the all-Irish decider at Twickenham, clinching their third title in four years. Schmidt, whose team led 14-6 at half-time, hailed the efforts of his side, particularly in defence.
“We couldn’t get the ball back off them for long periods and I thought they deserved the try,” Schmidt said. ”At the same time, I was incredibly proud of the way we defended, a number of phases for a number of minutes in the period after half-time we were excellent.
“When they did score for us to turn it round and score pretty quickly ourselves was pivotal, at that stage the game was pretty much gone.”
Leinster captain Leo Cullen said he was impressed with the way his team lifted the tempo after half-time.
“We are trying to win all the time I guess but it is just the way it has panned out,” Cullen said. ”We targeted it at the start of the second half and we ramped things up during that period, we are just delighted to be honest but I can’t even remember what happened after half-time.”
Ulster’s Rory Best was proud of his team despite the loss, and said they would learn from the defeat.
“There is no point sitting here and looking for excuses. They are a very good rugby team and we learnt a lot last year and will probably learn more from this,” Best said. ”It was heartbreaking watching Leinster lift the trophy but that is what you learn from, you have to stand up and watch that and use it to drive you on for next year.”