Leinster coach Michael Cheika admitted his players were ‘broken’ despite edging Harlequins 6-5 in a thrilling Heineken Cup quarter-final at The Stoop.
Two Felipe Contepomi penalties were enough to set up an all-Irish last-four clash with Munster at Croke Park with Leinster surviving a relentless Quins assault.
"That was a pretty tough game. The guys in that dressing room are broken because it was so physical," he said.
"We had to do a lot of defending, especially in the second half. It was mental as well as physical pressure.
"We showed a lot of character to defend that lead being pinned down in our territory for so long.
"Maybe we didn't show a lot of accuracy but there was a lot of character against a quality side.
"This is a tournament we really want to win. It will now be a massive challenge against the best team in Europe."
England full-back Mike Brown crossed in the 67th minute to give Quins hope, but despite vast amounts of possession, they failed to land the decisive blow.
It was the club's first venture into the quarter-finals and Richards refused to lament the lack of a fairytale ending.
"It's been a lovely journey, but at the same time it's come to an end and we have to accept that," he said.