Leinster’s Gordon D’Arcy celebrates his try as Johnny Sexton and Munster’s Ronan O’Gara exchange words in the Heineken Cup semi-final in 2009. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

When Irish rugby historians search for the biggest shift in the balance of power at provincial level they need look no further than May 2nd, 2009, and(...)

Rocky Elsom in action for Leinster: “We adopted an under-12s mentality in many games that season [2008-9]. Give the ball to the big fella and pile after him. It worked, especially against Munster at Croke Park.”  Photograph: Graham Stuart/Inpho

There are several reasons for the continued success of the Irish provinces. Home grown talent will always matter. Some brilliant coaching tickets have(...)

Jamie Heaslip lifts the Heineken Cup after the win over Leicester at Murrayfield in May 2009. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Jamie Heaslip will walk on the pitch before Leinster v Saracens. “Mick Dawson told me this morning they are at just south of 50,000.” Imagine they b(...)

Seán Cronin and Rob Kearney raise their arms in truumph as Leinster overcome Clermont 19-15 in the Heineken Cup semi-final in 2012. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

If there has been one outstanding high point in Leinster’s storied European Cup history, it is probably their epic semi-final win over Clermont in Bor(...)

 Jamie Heaslip should be one of the few survivor from when Harlqeuins and Leisnetr last met in 2009.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Leinster team won’t be selected until Friday. But of the 15 players who started against Harlequins in the 2009 ‘Bloodgate’ quarter-final, probably(...)