Coach Joe Schmidt so proud as he departs Leinster with double secured
Joe Schmidt was a proud man after seeing Leinster clinch the RaboDirect PRO12 title with a 24-18 victory over Ulster.
Last Updated: 25/05/13 9:17pm
In Schmidt's final game before taking over the Ireland job, Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip scored the tries and Jonny Sexton - also playing his last match for Leinster - kicked 14 points.
The tense victory came just a week after they lifted the Amlin Challenge Cup at the same venue, so Schmidt departs with a double as well as two Heineken Cup titles.
"It was a pretty nerve-wracking way to go out," said Schmidt. "I don't think we managed the last quarter of the game. We gave them the ball back too many times. Ulster are too good a team to give the ball back to. Our defence was first rate today.
"We managed to hang in when they had a lot of pressure in the first half and in the last quarter we did pretty well. It's a massive credit to the team."
"The PRO12 is very, very tough. It is a super competition. Anyone of the top six teams could have won it.
"When you do get through to the play-off games it is very tough all the way. It is phenomenal to have three trophies in the changing rooms at the moment (including the 'A' team's British and Irish Cup).
"It is a massive credit to our players. We focused on our attack for the Amlin and focused a little bit on defence for this game.
"It would be great to look back over the summer and enjoy a moment of reflection but already looking ahead, I have a new job and there is going to be a lot of pressure with that.
"I'm looking forward to seeing different players and going forward, it is a nice easy job! You start with Samoa, Australia and New Zealand (in November). It is a good way to ease into it."
Ulster, the table-toppers for much of the season, were always in the game thanks to Ruan Pienaar's deadly boot, the South African kicking all of his team's points. But they were let down by their own indiscipline, which was punished by Sexton.
"Discipline. Little things," Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe said. "You start a game and it is important. You want to get the start and things go your way. A couple of lazy penalties from us, they are metres form our line and they took their try really well (and went 10-0 up).
"Penalties really hurt us in the first half and when you get close to the goal-line it is about getting to the goal-line."
"(The season) has been long, endurable, cold, wet, but they're a good bunch of guys. We finished last year when I wasn't here. In the Heineken Cup final we got cleaned out," he said.
"I think we showed today we are their equal now. I got a lot of heart of what I have seen and look forward to next year as a province."