Leinster vs Ulster: As it happened

by Kieran O'Daly , 19 May 2012

Good afternoon and welcome to Twickenham for what promises to be a fascinating Heineken Cup final between Leinster and Ulster.

Full-time: Leinster 42-14 Ulster. A glorious victory for Joe Schmidt's men in the end as they proved themselves the kings of Europe in some style. The scoreline was a bit rough on Ulster who fought bravely to the end, but the day belonged to Leinster as they lifted the Heineken Cup for the third time in four years. A remarkable achievement!

80 mins: Ball goes wide and Cronin crosses in the corner to put the seal on a great performance for the blues. McFadden converts and it's all over!

78 mins: Champagne rugby now from Leinster as O'Driscoll and D'Arcy break yet again. It's the biggest winning margin in Heineken Cup final history. 

76 mins: Leinster turn the screw. Madigan breaks, gives it to Cronin who offloads brilliantly for van der Merwe to cross in the corner. 35-14. Game over! McFadden misses the conversion but it doesn't matter as Leinster make Heineken Cup history.

73 mins: That was Sexton's last involvement as Ian Madigan comes in to replace him. O'Driscoll is patched up and back on the field.

72 mins: Terreblanche sin binned for a high tackle on Cronin just outside the Ulster 22. Silly boy! Sexton steps up and adds the points. Could that be the decisive kick? 30-14.  

71 mins: Leinster lose possession in the Ulster 22 but the men in white can't break out and Leinster win it back.

67 mins: Problems for Ulster as Humphreys forced off injured. Marshall in to replace him. 

66 mins: Best is penalised and Sexton settles Leinster nerves by splitting trhe posts. 27-14. Dave Kearney on for O'Driscoll, Cronin in for Strauss and White on for Mike Ross for Leinster. 

65 mins: Ulster turn it over and clear it away. Looked suspiciously like an Ulster hand on the ground but Owens sees nothing wrong. 

63 mins: Leinster go through the phases and edge their way towards the Ulster line.  

60 mins: Pienaar narrowly wide with the conversion. How important will that be? Changes for Leinster as van der Merwe and McLaughlin replace Healy and Jennings. Can Joe Scnmidt's men respond? 

59 mins: Ulster still pressing. They have to score now and do as Dan Touhy crashes over in the corner. Game on!

57 mins: Toner replaces Cullen as Ulster continue to push for a breakthrough. Pienaar and Humphreys go close but Leinster superb in defence.  

56 mins: Ulster opt for the scrum but Wannenburg throws it forward and Leinster clear their lines, albeit only 15 metres.  

55 mins: Ulster pour forward and start to exert some pressure. Both Trimble and Afoa go close before the referee awards a penalty under the posts for offside at the ruck. A stern warning for a po-faced Leo Cullen. 

53 mins: Leinster's big game experience is starting to tell. O'Driscoll and D'Arcy are like terriers in midfield.

50 mins: Leinster immediately win a penalty of their own as Henry strays offside. Sexton converts superbly from out wide and it's 24-9 with half an hour to play.

48 mins: Pienaar reduces the arrears as he kicks a penalty from the ten-yard line after O'Brien penalised.

45 mins: A tough day at the office for youngster Paddy Jackson comes to an end as Ian Humphreys enters the fray.

44 mins: Unnecessary pressure for Ulster. Leinster win the line-out and maul their way up to the Ulster line. Referee Owens awards a penalty try as Court tries to bring it down illegally and prevent a certain try. Sexton converts for 21-6 and suddenly it looks a long way back for Brian McLaughlin's men.  

43 mins: Things going from bad to worse fror Jackson who puts it straight out after the ball was knocked back to him from outside the 22.

41 mins: The second half is under way and Leinster are just 40 minutes away from joining the rugby pantheon. Three Heineken Cups in four years would be a remarkable feat, but Ulster will have plenty to say over the next 40 minutes.  

Half-time: Leinster 14-6 Ulster. Leinster deserve to be in front. They look more threatening but Ulster are still in with more than a fighting chance. Both sides are making errors so anything could happen! O'Driscoll and Healy have been huge for the holders. Pienaar, Best and Cave are doing well for Ulster.

40 mins: Leinster penalised just inside the Ulster half Pienaar steps up to try to get his side back into the game as half-time approaches. What a kick and the sides head into the break with just eight points between them. Could that be the moment that turns the match? 

38 mins: Leinster look more threatening in possession and break again. O'Driscoll and D'Arcy are rolling back the years but the ball is knocked on and it's an Ulster put in.

35 mins: Ulster look to respond as Trimble breaks. Leinster defend bravely  as their line is threatened. The ball comes back to Jackson who screws his attempted drop goal wide from 15 yards. A bad miss and the Jackson/Humphreys debate is re-ignited.  Ulster need to get some points soon.

32 mins: Leinster steal possession from an Ulster scrum. O'Driscoll breaks in midfield and offloads brilliantly to O'Brien who is stopped just short of the line. The ball comes back quickly and Reddan releases Healy who crashes over from four yards. Sexton adds the extras and it's 14-3 to Leinster. 

27 mins: Ulster win a line-out and spread it out wide but can't make any ground against a fierce Leinster defence. Jackson kicks it out on the full and Leinster get the throw on half way but Leo Cullen knocks on. Both sides are making needless errors. 

23 mins: Lots of turnovers on both sides which won't please the coaches!

21 mins: Leinster break quickly from their own line, Reddan jinks his way into the Ulster 22. The ball goes wide and O'Driscoll tries to set Nacewa on his way but he is tackled into touch just ten yards out. It's hard to keep up...... 

20 mins: Ulster now on the break and shifting the ball out wide. Wannenburg, Best and Jackson all involved. Terreblanche tackled into touch by Kearney five yards out.  

18 mins: Leinster slowly getting themselves on top and beginning to enjoy the majority of possession. 

15 mins: Ulster penalised close to their 10 metre line but Sexton miscues the kick well wide. A rare miss for the former St Marys' man.

13 mins: Sexton adds the conversion and it's 7-3.

12 mins: Leinster continue to press. Kearney goes close as Ulster are penalised but O'Brien bursts over and, after a prolonged visit to the TV ref, the try is awarded. Leinster ahead.

9 mins: Leinster look to hit back and start to put some phases together. Ferris tackles Sexton to turn over possession but Terreblanche kicks it out on the full. Line-out Leinster on the Ulster 22. 

7 mins: Leinster penalised again. This one is kickable and Pienaar duly puts Ulster ahead. Brian McLaughlin's men have started strongly..... 

4 mins: Cave breaks from midfield following Ulster line-out and threatens Leinster line. Cullen wins the ruck but Kearney's attempted clearance is blocked down but is touched down for a 22. A frenetic opening...... 

3 mins: Leinster penalised for handling in the ruck. Pienaar kicks down the line.

1 min: Referee Nigel Owens blows his whistle and we're under way.......

There's been a late change on the Leinster bench with the unlucky Isaac Boss failing to recover from injury in time to face his old team. John Cooney is called up. Leinster will miss Boss's physicality around the scrum in the final quarter.   

It's a full house and a festival atmosphere here at Twickenham as the teams prepare to take the field. Can Leinster make it three wins in four attempts or will Ulster repeat their success of 1999? We should know the answer by a quarter to seven......

In the first all-Irish decider for European rugby’s premier prize, Leinster are hot favourites to retain the crown they won so memorably against Northampton in Cardiff a year ago, but they know they will have to be at their very best to beat a determined Ulster side who have turned over both Leicester and Munster en route to the final.

Leinster have made three changes from the XV that started the semi-final against Clermont, with Eoin Redden, Kevin McLaughlin and Fergus McFadden in for Isaac Boss, Shane Jennings and Luke Fitzgerald.

Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy and Cian Healy are all back from injury for Leinster, as is Rob Kearney, who was named on Thursday by Amlin Opta as Europe's best attacker.Kearney, who has scored six tries in eight Heineken Cup appearances so far this year, takes his place in the back three alongside McFadden and Isa Nacewa.

Ulster openside flanker Chris Henry and back tighthead prop John Afoa missed the semi-final victory against Edinburgh, but return for Twickenham.
Afoa returns after suspension while Henry has recovered from an injury and comes into the back row alongside Stephen Ferris and Pedrie Wannenburg, who will be playing his final game for Ulster.

Paddy Jackson will again start at number ten with Ian Humphreys on the bench.

Today's referee is Nigel Owens from Wales.


LEINSTER: R Kearney; McFadden, O'Driscoll,, D'Arcy, Nacewa; Sexton, Reddan: Healy, Strauss, Ross; Cullen (capt) Thorn, McLaughlin, O'Brien, Heaslip.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Heinke van der Merwe, Nathan White, Devin Toner, Shane Jennings, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, David Kearney.

ULSTER: Terblanche; Trimble, Cave, Wallace, Gilroy; Jackson, Pienaar: Court, Best, Afoa, Muller, Tuohy, Ferris, Henry, Wannenburg
Replacements: Nigel Brady, Paddy McAllister, Declan Fitzpatrick, Lewis Stevenson, Willie Faloon, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Adam D'Arcy.


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