Monday 23 July 2018

'This is for the ones who stood by me' - Leinster's Champions Cup triumph 'not about vindication' for Stuart Lancaster

Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster poses with the trophy following the European Rugby Champions Cup Final match between Leinster and Racing 92 at San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster poses with the trophy following the European Rugby Champions Cup Final match between Leinster and Racing 92 at San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Sam Roberts

Stuart Lancaster says Leinster's Champions Cup final victory was built on the "pain of losing" in the big games last season.

Leinster defeated French side Racing 92 in Bilbao to win their fourth European Cup, and their first since 2012.

The men in blue came up short both in Europe and domestically last season, losing their Champions Cup semi-final to Clermont and then slipping to a shock defeat to the Scarlets in the Pro14 semi-final.

Former England coach Lancaster said those losses provided motivation for the squad this season.

"I think the pain of losing drives the mentality in the group," Lancaster told BT Sport.

"I thought we were close last season, we scored 30 tries in the pool games, and the Clermont game was lost on small margins.

"We lost the Pro14 semi-final as well and both games burn deep. I think that's been the big difference."

Lancaster joined Leinster in 2016, his first coaching role since resigning from the England job after a dismal performance in the 2015 World Cup.

"It's not about vindication," the 48-year old insisted.

"It means a huge amount to me obviously, but it means a huge amount to my family and friends.

"They're the ones who all stood by me in the tough times after the World Cup, they never once wavered in their belief in my ability.

"That's been the nice thing, it's nice to have my wife here. It's for them really."

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