Having conquered Europe for the third time in four years, Leinster Head Coach Joe Schmidt was understandably disappointed his team couldn’t pull off the elusive league and European cup double as they lost 30-31 to the Ospreys in the RaboDirect PRO12 final yesterday.
Leinster boasted a 30-21 lead with less than twenty minutes remaining after Jonathan Sexton converted Isa Nacewa’s second try of the afternoon.
But the Ospreys capitalised on some tired Leinster defence late on and fittingly, in his last Ospreys outing, Shane Williams scored the crucial late try which Dan Biggar expertly converted to snatch a one point win.
The defeat marked a repeat of Leinster’s failure to claim the double last year when they lost out to Munster in the league final.
Leinster props Heinke van der Merwe and Nathan White both picked up yellow cards in the second half and Schmidt feels this lack of discipline was a crippling blow for his team late on.
“I am pretty gutted obviously,” he said. “We knew that it was going to be tough and we had to be in front in the back half of the game.
"There was going to be a little bit of fatigue, and I think you get more fatigue when you are down to fourteen men twice in the half.
"That means you have to overwork a little bit. We fell off a couple of tired tackles and maybe just didn't have things bounce our way.
"I thought it was a super kick by Dan Biggar from the edge and it was pretty much the same thing he did to us last time to get a one-point win (here back in March)."
Having put so much into their 42-14 thumping of Ulster in the Heineken Cup final it was always going to be tough to reproduce the same level of intensity with just an eight day turnaround for the Ospreys clash.
Schmidt knew the final stages would be crucial and having slipped up, he is adamant the team will be eager to improve when they regroup.
"I knew that the most dangerous part of the game would be that back end.
“We really had to keep that buffer and keep our noses in front.
"We'll have a good look at it because we're driven to improve from game to game.
“But a lot of those things won't happen until we get back together in a month's time."