O'Driscoll: We're building a dynasty
May 19, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll enjoys the win over Ulster © PA Photos
Brian O'Driscoll hailed the creation of a Heineken Cup dynasty after Leinster's record-breaking 42-14 victory over Ulster in the season finale at Twickenham.
Leinster made history with a third Heineken Cup title in four years - a level of sustained success that is unmatched in European history, even by four-time winners Toulouse. Leicester are the only other team have successfully defended their Heineken Cup title and Leinster did it today by breaking three records.
Not only did they crush Ulster with the biggest winning margin in Heineken Cup final history, but Leinster set a new record for points scored (42) and tries scores (five). Sean O'Brien and Cian Healy scored first-half tries to put Leinster in charge and they sealed the victory with a penalty try plus late touchdowns from Heinke Van Der Merwe and Sean Cronin.
Fly-half Jonathan Sexton converted all three tries and kicked three penalties for a personal haul of 15 points as Leinster added the 2012 title to those they won in 2009 and 2011.
"It will take a couple of days for it to properly to settle in but after we won one we talked about not being content with that and trying to create some sort of dynasty and something to be remembered by," O'Driscoll told Sky Sports 3.
"We're going in the right direction towards doing that but I know this team will be hungry for more. That's why it's enjoyable, You're going in day-in and day-out because you know you're going to be pushed by the guy next to you. We played for one another out there and that really showed today.
"The energy from all 23 was phenomenal, it shows where we are as a squad. I only came in for the knockout stages. For the important part, but the hard graft was put in during the group stages."
Leinster captain Leo Cullen lifted the trophy for a second time and compared his emotions to those of Masters champion Bubba Watson. "To quote Bubba Watson, I haven't got that far in my dreams," Cullen said. "There is something special about playing for the team you grew up supporting. That is the team you want to represent more than anything. Success with this team means the world to me."
Last year, Leinster staged the greatest comeback in Heineken Cup final history to beat Northampton 33-22 after trailing 22-6. Leinster today led 14-6 at the interval and coach Joe Schmidt reminded his players of what can happen in Heineken Cup finals. "Finals are about getting a lead and if we learned anything from last year it is that you have to keep playing, no matter what the situation," Cullen said.
Man-of-the-match O'Brien also insisted that Leinster are constantly raising the bar. "We've worked hard in the last 10 months and today was they day where we had to for go it and thankfully we got the win.
"It's a strong squad and we really want to kick on. Every time we put on a blue shirt there's an energy around us. We trusted the team and we trusted the system. At times today there were lots of mistakes but winning is important and that's what we did today."
Ulster were back in the Heineken Cup final for the first time in 13 years and hooker Rory Best insisted the pain of defeat had to be a source of inspiration. "It was heartbreaking watching Leinster lift the trophy but that is what you learn from," Best said. "You have to watch that and that has to drive you for next year.
"Defeats like this and watching Leinster lift the trophy has to be in our minds now for the next 12 months. We have to be aiming to be in the Aviva next year (for the final). We can't pat ourselves on the back for being in the Heineken Cup final when four years ago you thought you were never going to get out of the group. You have to be looking to win this trophy."
Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin, who tasted defeat in his last game in charge of the Irish province before taking on an academy role, admitted Leinster deserved the trophy. He said: "It was really only in the last 16 minutes that Leinster moved away as the game was very much in the balance.
"We fought back hard and scored a nice try but in the last 10 minutes Leinster showed what a quality side they are and how much they deserved the trophy. I wouldn't do anything differently today at all. We knew it was always going to be difficult.
"We started exceptionally well, but you have to take your chances," McLaughlin said. "Leinster's defence was rock-solid, and they did a fantastic job. The scoreline may have flattered them a bit, but give Leinster an inch and they will take a mile. We have to learn from this. We have worked very hard over the last three years to make ourselves a quality rugby-playing side, and we tried to play a bit of football."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
With the World Cup just a year away, Tom Hamilton picks out five matches to ensure you have tickets for
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup