Leinster will meet Ulster in an All-Ireland Heineken Cup final at Twickenham on May 19.
Brian McLaughlin’s Ulster got the ball rolling for Irish rugby with a hard fought win over Edinburgh in Saturday’s semifinal at the Aviva Stadium.
Joe Schmidt’s Blues then followed their lead with a narrow win away to Clermont-Auvergne in Bordeaux on Sunday to set up the all-Ireland decider.
Leinster captain Leo Cullen is already looking forward to the game. “Ulster are a quality team. I didn’t get much of a chance to see their game but from what I saw it was reasonably comprehensive,” he said.
“They’re a good quality outfit. It’s going to be a big old challenge and I’m sure there will be plenty of hype about it but we have to recover from this game first.
“There’s more a sense of relief in the dressing room than anything. here’s a bit of a feeling that we got out of jail. It could have gone either way.”
Try scorer Rob Kearney admitted Leinster were fortunate to win in Bordeaux after Clermont had a late try disallowed by the video ref.
Kearney said, “We were probably a little bit lucky. Nine times out of ten Fofana scores that try, but we’ll take it when it’s there. We had to dig really deep and those forwards on the front line, I can’t speak highly enough about them.”
Center Brian O’Driscoll said, “It’s hard to immediately kind of rank it but it feels great because it was one of those games that was really going to test us as a side, and question whether we were up to winning in France and it’s great to get through that.
“They’re probably the best team in France at the moment and now that they’ve won their first French championship this was the next thing that they were after - they really wanted to lift that Heineken Cup.
Departing Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin is keen to make Leinster favorites for the all-Irish Twickenham final.
“I thought Leinster were superb in their semifinal win over Clermont,” said McLaughlin. “They proved they are a quality side in the way they handled Clermont at the end. It as a tremendous defensive performance after they fought back to take the ahead.
“But we know what to expect from Leinster. We played them a few weeks back and they were a good quality side. But hey, it’s a final and anything can happen.”
Flanker Chris Henry remains a major injury doubt for Ulster ahead of the decider.
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