It is the turn of the European Cup to feature in our Throwback Thursday focus this week and what a game this was – the 2011 final between Leinster Rugby and Northampton Saints, who clash again in Pool 1 of next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
Leinster Rugby 33 Northampton Saints 22
Leinster, inspired by fly-half Johnny Sexton, staged the greatest comeback in European Cup final history to win the trophy for the second time in three years.
Trailing 22-6 at the interval, the Irish province notched 27 points inside 22 devastating second-half minutes at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, with Sexton scoring 22 of them, to lift the trophy.
Such an outcome looked highly unlikely as Saints stormed out of the blocks to take the lead in the seventh minute as Calum Clark’s one-handed pass after an angled run put Phil Dowson away and the flanker went over in the corner. Fly-half Stephen Myler landed a superb conversion.
Leinster hit back with a Sexton penalty after 14 minutes, but Myler matched him seven minutes later and then landed another outstanding conversion when full-back Ben Foden scored a try in the corner on 31 minutes.
Sexton added his second penalty after 36 minutes, only for Northampton to grab their third try three minutes later, when hooker Dylan Hartley wrestled his way over.
Leinster desperately needed to score first in the second period to get back into the match and Sexton did the trick on 44 minutes after a Brian O’Driscoll break.
The Ireland No.10 improved his score and staged an action replay on 53 minutes after Jamie Heaslip created an opening. When Sexton kicked a 57th minute penalty, Leinster, amazingly, were 23-22 in front.
Sexton extended Leinster’s lead with a 61st minute penalty and then wrapped up an astonishing, 28-point performance five minutes later, when he converted a superb try from lock Nathan Hines involving backs and forwards alike.