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By Hannah Tuthill-Hogan
Leinster look set to become the most successful team in the history of the Heineken Cup if they beat Ulster at the first All-Irish final in Twickenham on the 19th of May.
Leinster secured their place in the final with a gutsy 19-15 win over Clermont Auvergne in Bordeaux on Sunday.
The boys in blue held on by the skin of their teeth after a 78 minute try by Clermont’s Wesley Fofana was disallowed, which would have sent the Irish team packing.
The match was neck and neck for most of the first half and Clermont led the blues by 12-6 at half time thanks to the boot of Brock James.
Leinster clawed their way back into the game early in the second half with a well taken try by Cian Healy and an impressive 45 metre drop goal by Leinster player of the season Rob Kearney.
The second half remained tight with outhalves Jonny Sexton and Brock James exchanging penalties. Leinster held their nerve and defended their line ferociously until they won a penalty that cinched a successive Heineken Cup Final appearance for the Irish team.
All eyes are on Twickenham for the final, when the two Irish teams battle it out for the title. Leinster, who will go into the final as favourites, will be hoping to be the first ever team to win the Heineken Cup three times in four years.
Ulster go into this match as underdogs based on their less than spectacular semi final win over Edinburgh in the Aviva.
But nothing is ever that easy when it comes to a Heineken Cup final, if Leinster’s first half performance against Northampton in the 2011 final is anything to go by.
If Ulster want to be in with a chance to beat the Leinster then they will have to target the Blues’ lineout which was misfiring against Clermont.
It is still a huge ask for the Ulstermen as Leinster are playing some of the best rugby in the world at the moment.
Photo credit: M+MD on Flickr