After a gripping finale we now know that Leinster have been crowned European champions for a record-equalling fourth time.
Ireland’s 2018 NatWest 6 Nations stars inspired the province on to glory, with fly-half Jonathan Sexton holding his nerve to kick three penalties in the Bilbao final.
Two of those penalties came in the first half as the sides cancelled each other out in a ferocious but nervy encounter, with the score 6-6 at half-time.
Sexton and Teddy Iribaren traded three-pointers in the second half and Racing led with less than 10 minutes to go, but Leinster captain Ica Nacewa stepped up to notch two late penalties to bring home the trophy, matching Toulouse’s four European crowns.
Sexton commented: “We did it the hard way. We couldn’t get going at all during the game. Every time we got into their 22 the ball was killed.
“It was very greasy and they came out and slowed us down at the ruck and that’s obviously the way to beat us.
“I can’t believe we’re champions again. I never thought two or three years ago that this was going to happen again. I’m so happy for all those young lads. I’m so happy for all the coaches.
“Stuart Lancaster, what a special coach to come in to do what he’s done and for Leo (Cullen) to have the courage to bring him in. It’s amazing.
“The belief he has instilled in us, the way we train and also the international coaches. These young guys are doing a lot of learning.”
The triumph adds to the success of an already-superb 2018 for some of Leinster’s players, with the likes of Rob Kearney, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Tadhg Furlong all key cogs in Ireland’s 2018 NatWest 6 Nations win.
Many of France’s Championship stars put in impressive performances on the losing side, with Teddy Thomas and Virimi Vakatawa offering plenty of threat.
Racing skipper Yannick Nyanga, who has 46 France caps, was inspirational throughout and confirmed he is retiring at the end of the season: “I would have liked to finish my last European Cup match in another way.
“I’m still proud to have been captain of this team. There are lessons that are harder to learn than others and this is part of it.”