Ultan Dillane said winning a Champions Cup was a "dream" he was "chasing" when he decided to leave Connacht for La Rochelle last year. "I knew we could achieve greatness," the 29-year-old Kerry man told RTÉ Radio 1 after Saturday's victory over Leinster.
"It's a dream realised for me personally. I just can't believe how well the boys pulled through in that second half. Leinster are an incredible team. They completely put it to us in that first half. It took everything and a bit more to come out on the better side of it."
La Rochelle trailed Leinster by 17 in the first half but came back to win 27-26.
"We just went in [at half-time] with belief," said Dillane.
"We knew once we scored twice in the first half that there was a chink in their armour. We knew there was a chance, and that's all we needed going into the locker room at half-time. All that was really said was to tidy up our breakdown, and put it up to them physically."
Dillane also revealed how La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara explained to his players that there was a need for emotional balance going into the game.
"It's more than the coach. It's the man," Dillane said about O'Gara.
"He just understands players so well. He's got that balance from having been there.
"Even yesterday, he was saying that as emotional an occasion as it is... He was just telling us that when they got there [with Munster] so many years ago, they spent half an hour crying in a huddle because they were so proud of getting there, and ended up disappointing themselves the next day. It was just about the balance of emotions coming here."