With an all-Irish final this Saturday, the Heineken Cup trophy will be heading to Ireland for the fifth time in seven seasons, their sixth title in seventeen seasons of Heineken Cup rugby.
1999 FINAL: ULSTER 21 COLOMIERS 6, Lansdowne Road
Thirteen years ago, Ulster became the first Irish province to win the Heineken Cup, beating Colomiers 21-6 in the final thanks to six penalties from former Ireland full-back Simon Mason and a drop goal from Ulster’s current director of rugby David Humphreys.
With a small number of part-time players in their squad, Ulster’s march to the summit of European rugby remains one of the Heineken Cup’s most remarkable stories.
2009 FINAL: LEICESTER TIGERS 16 LEINSTER 19, Murrayfield
Ten years on from Ulster’s triumph, and following Munster’s victories in 2006 and 2008, Leinster became the third Irish province to lift the biggest prize in the northern Hemisphere’s club game.
Michael Cheika’s Leinster side beat Leicester in a tight and edgy final, with young out-half Jonathan Sexton kicking 11 points to go with a Brian O’Driscoll drop goal and Jamie Heaslip’s try.
2011 FINAL: LEINSTER 33 NORTHAMPTON SAINTS 22, Millennium Stadium
In last year’s final, Leinster were crowned Heineken Cup champions for the second time with the greatest comeback in the history of the tournament.
Trailing Northampton Saints by 16 points at the break, it was Jonathan Sexton again who inspired Leinster in the second 40 minutes. He scored two tries, three conversions and four penalties to go with Nathan Hines’ five-pointer as Leinster broke Northampton hearts.
– With thanks to ERC