While Leinster Rugby and Ulster Rugby meet regularly in the BKT United Rugby Championship, their Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clash on April 1 will be only their third in EPCR’s elite competition. Here we look back at their other two encounters with one featuring prominently in the record books.
2012: Leinster 42 Ulster 14
Those records – all five of them – came in the final 11 years ago, when an all-time high EPCR attendance of 81,774 saw Leinster crush their Irish rivals at Twickenham Stadium to claim an unprecedented third Heineken Champions Cup title in four years.
The defending champions notched the biggest winning margin in the final as well as most points, most tries (5) and most conversions (4), after Ulster failed to build on a promising start.
First-half tries from Sean O’Brien and Cian Healy, converted by Johnny Sexton, gave Leinster a narrow 14-6 half-time lead, Ruan Pienaar replying with two penalties, before the champions ran riot after the break.
A penalty-try early in the second period pushed Leinster 21-6 ahead and Sexton kept adding to the lead with three penalties, prior to late tries from replacements Heinke Van der Merwe and Sean Cronin plus a Fergus McFadden conversion, which sealed their biggest win in a Heineken Champions Cup final.
Ulster briefly raised hopes of a comeback with a try on the hour by Dan Tuohy, but their only other score after the interval was Pienaar’s third penalty.
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2019: Leinster 21 Ulster 18
The teams’ next Heineken Champions Cup meeting, at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, was a much tighter affair, with Ulster pushing the defending champions all the way on their route to the final.
Ross Byrne was Leinster’s hero this time with a match-winning penalty eight minutes from time and 16 points all told, after Ulster had held a 13-11 half-time lead.
Kieran Treadwell had given Ulster the lead with a try converted by John Cooney, only for Ross Byrne to reply with a try. He then exchanged penalties with Cooney.
Adam Byrne nudged Leinster ahead with a converted try, but Ulster levelled matters with a score from Luke Marshall. It was Ross Byrne who had the last word, though, with that late penalty.