Best: Pain must spur us on
Cup heartbreak will give us strength says Ulster and Ireland hooker
Last Updated: May 20, 2012 5:20pm
Rory Best: Plans to learn from defeat
Ulster must use the pain of their crushing Heineken Cup final defeat as motivation for next season's tournament according to hooker Rory Best.
Best and his team-mates were powerless to prevent Leinster from running away with the Twickenham final to clinch a third European title in four seasons.
The 42-14 loss was the heaviest reversal in Heineken Cup final history, ending a memorable campaign for Ulster that had included impressive victories over Munster, Leicester and Clermont Auvergne.
Leinster displayed their European pedigree in all its glory during the encounter, and Ulster ultimately had few answers.
"It was heartbreaking watching Leinster lift the trophy, but that is what you learn from," said Best. "You have to watch that and that has to drive you for next year.
"Defeats like this and watching Leinster lift the trophy has to be in our minds now for the next 12 months... We can't pat ourselves on the back for being in the Heineken Cup final when four years ago you thought you were never going to get out of the group. You have to be looking to win this trophy."
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"Defeats like this and watching Leinster lift the trophy has to be in our minds now for the next 12 months."
Next season's Heineken final will be played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, and Best added: "We have to be aiming to be at the Aviva next year.
"We can't pat ourselves on the back for being in the Heineken Cup final when four years ago you thought you were never going to get out of the group. You have to be looking to win this trophy."
Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin saw his team in contention at 24-14 adrift following a well-worked try for lock Dan Tuohy, but late scores by Leinster substitutes Heinke van der Merwe and Sean Cronin helped open up a substantial winning margin.
"We started exceptionally well, but you have to take your chances," McLaughlin said.
"Leinster's defence was rock-solid, and they did a fantastic job. The scoreline may have flattered them a bit, but give Leinster an inch and they will take a mile. We have to learn from this.
"We have worked very hard over the last three years to make ourselves a quality rugby-playing side, and we tried to play a bit of football."