While La Rochelle produced a remarkable second half performance, Leinster will come away from this season's Champions Cup final that they left another European trophy on the table.
Their performance in the opening 15 minutes or so was remarkable, scoring three tries to open up a 17-point lead over their opponents. You might have expected them to win comfortably from that point, but the game played out in a very different manner.
La Rochelle continually chipped away at the lead, eventually taking the lead for the first time in the final ten minutes.
From 17 points down after 12 minutes, La Rochelle LEAD in Dublin! 🟡⚫️#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/M6q2lXp0ri
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) May 20, 2023
Leinster would make one final push to get back in front, although they would eventually fall short.
Tadhg Furlong sums up Leinster loss to La Rochelle
The Leinster players were understandably hugely disappointed after the game. That is something that will not change in the days ahead, especially after their latest failure to perform on the big stage will be dissected in the public forum.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Tadhg Furlong pulled no punches when summing his team's struggles in getting the job done on the biggest occasions.
We're gutted. The boys are gutted, we put a lot into it.
I thought we started very well, but we kind of lost our way a small bit. Coming up to halftime and for 20 minutes after halftime, we put pressure on ourselves.
It spilt milk now really. It's the third final in-a-row that we have lost, so it's not great...
I'm not sure about that (being the best a team has played to start a final). We had a few started plays that worked a treat.
They're an incredible team to be fair to them. They hung in there and started putting the squeeze on us in the second half. We never matched that, we kept putting the pressure back on ourselves.
It hurts, it really hurts...
The family always travel, your friends always travel. The atmosphere here was class and we're very lucky with the fans we have and how they turn out for us.
We're so disappointed for them. That's just the way it is.
Having lost the URC semi-final last week, Leinster will now end a remarkable season without any trophies to show for it.
For a team of their ability, that really isn't good enough.