Leinster claim Heineken Cup crown
Irish heavyweights Leinster were crowned European champions for a third time in four years after crushing Ulster 42-14 in the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham.
Sean O'Brien and Cian Healy scored first-half tries to put Leinster in charge and they sealed the victory with a penalty try and then late touch-downs from Heinke van der Merwe and Sean Cronin. Ulster threatened in patches, yet their only consolation was a late Dan Tuohy try that followed three Ruan Pienaar penalties.
On top of this being the biggest winning margin in history, no side had scored as many points as Leinster's 42 and no side had ever scored five tries in a final.
Leinster were inspired by midfield magician Brian O'Driscoll and fly-half Jonathan Sexton, who kicked three conversions and three penalties for a 15-point haul as Leinster became the first team since Leicester in 2002 to successfully defend the Heineken Cup.
It was Ulster who made the early running, notably through centre Darren Cave, as Leinster found themselves stretched defensively and Pienaar kicked over. Welsh referee Nigel Owens appeared keen to encourage an open game, and Leinster capitalised through a sustained passage of play that resulted in O'Brien crashing over.
Owens required confirmation from television match official Jim Yuille before awarding the try, and Sexton's conversion hoisted Leinster ahead, but he missed a 45-metre penalty chance just two minutes later.
The defending champions, though, dug deep into their box of tricks eight minutes before half-time - and Ulster were punished. O'Driscoll made initial inroads, then delivered a stunning offload to O'Brien, whose pace left Ulster's defence at sixes and sevens, creating enough space for Healy to score.
Sexton again added the extras, and Ulster found themselves in all kinds of strife as half-time approached. And their misery was compounded when fly-half Paddy Jackson sent an easy drop-goal attempt wide, meaning Leinster could close out the opening 40 minutes in control despite Pienaar booting a late long-range strike.
Leinster looked to underline their dominance within minutes of the restart, and that wish was granted when Ulster illegally halted a Leinster maul and Owens awarded a penalty try that Sexton improved. The Ireland international then added a penalty, and Ulster had no choice but to go for broke.
And that approach was rewarded when centre Paddy Wallace made a decisive break, which created room for Tuohy, who powered across from close range. But Leinster sealed the deal with two further Sexton penalties during the final 13 minutes, before Van der Merwe ploughed over to seal a tournament record that was enhanced by Cronin's last-gasp effort.