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Best - final heartache must spur us on

Rory Best has urged Ulster to use the pain of a crushing Heineken Cup final defeat as motivation for next season's tournament.

Best and his team-mates were powerless to prevent Leinster from running away with the Twickenham final as they secured a third European title in four seasons. Ulster's 42-14 loss was the heaviest reversal in Heineken Cup final history.

"It was heartbreaking watching Leinster lift the trophy, but that is what you learn from," Ulster and Ireland hooker Best said. "You have to watch that and that has to drive you for next year."

He added: "Defeats like this and watching Leinster lift the trophy has to be in our minds now for the next 12 months."

Next season's Heineken final will be played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, and Best said: "We have to be aiming to be at the Aviva next year. 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 saw his team in contention at 24-14 adrift following a well-worked try for lock Dan Tuohy, but late scores by Leinster substitutes Heinke van der Merwe and Sean Cronin helped open up a substantial winning margin.

"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."


From Belfast Telegraph