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The 2009 Heineken Cup finalists: Where are they now?

By Neil Fissler
Leinster's Rocky Elsom (C) breaks through the Leicester Tigers defence during the European Cup rugby final at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland on May 23, 2009. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Leinster had watched Munster win two out of three Heineken Cup finals before they booked their place in the Murrayfield final by hammering their arch-rivals 25-6 at Croke Park.

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And they looked to have blown their first final after falling behind 16-9 at half-time thanks to a Ben Woods try. But they staged a magnificent fightback thanks to a brilliant Jamie Heaslip try.

Jonny Sexton, who drew his side level with the conversion, then held his nerve ten minutes from time to land the match-winning penalty.

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COMING SOON

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Sadly for Leinster, the 2009 Heineken Cup isn’t remembered for their thrilling final victory and the first of their four final wins in the competition.

But instead, it’s for Harlequins quarter-finals 6-5 defeat at their hands at The Stoop in a game that has become notorious for the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal.

Fixture
Investec Champions Cup
Leinster
22 - 31
Full-time
Toulouse
All Stats and Data

LEINSTER

Isa Nacewa: The Fijian full-back is now a performance team leader for High-Performance Sport New Zealand.

Shane Horgan: The Ireland and Lions winger is managing director of Soccer Aid productions and works in the media.

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Brian O’Driscoll: The Ireland and Lions centre works for TNT Sports, ITV, and Off The Ball and is a serial investor.

Gordon D’Arcy: The Ireland and Lions centre works in business development for Lockton and is co-founder of Kids Speech Labs.

Luke Fitzgerald: The Ireland and Lions winger is an Analyst in US Leveraged Finance at AIB corporate bank.

Johnny Sexton: The Ireland and Lions fly-half is now commercial manager for a glass and metal company called Ardagh Group.

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Chris Whitaker: The Wallaby scrum-half is coaching at the NSW Waratahs and is set to join Castres next season.

Leo Cullen (left) raises the Heineken Cup with team-mate Chris Whitaker after Leinster’s 2009 breakthrough triumph at Murrayfield (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Cian Healy: The Ireland prop is still playing for Leinster and is aiming for a fifth Champions Cup winners medal.

Bernard Jackman: The Ireland hooker is the Acting Head of High-Performance Sport at Horse Sport Ireland and works in the media.

Stan Wright: The Cook Islands prop has coached his country and is a director of Wright Brothers Building in Wellington, New Zealand.

Leo Cullen: The former Ireland lock has been Leinster’s head coach since 2015 after spending a season as forwards coach.

Malcolm O’Kelly: The Essex-born Ireland and Lions lock works as an orthopaedic specialist for Tekno Surgical.

Heineken Cup
Malcolm O’Kelly (second left) celebrates Leinster’s victory on the final whistle (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Rocky Elsom: The Wallaby flanker became a major shareholder in RC Narbonne and was involved in a bid to buy the Melbourne Rebels.

Shane Jennings: Flanker works for Home Instead Ireland, where he has been the Director of Franchise Operations, COO, and now Chief Executive.

Jamie Heaslip: No.8 is an investor in several business start-ups and also works for the Payment Processing Software firm Stripe.

Replacements 

John Fogarty: The Ireland hooker was Leinster’s scrum coach before becoming the Irish Rugby Football Union’s national scrum coach.

Ronan McCormack: Prop went into the property sector and Managing Director of Grayling Property Management

Devin Toner: The Ireland lock has invested in Wicklow firm O Brother Brewing and is Head of Partnerships at Fairstone Asset Management.

Sean O’Brien: The Ireland and Lions back-row is now Leinster’s Contact Skills Coach and has a farm and promotions firm.

Simon Keogh: The scrum-half qualified as a solicitor and is now chief executive of Rugby Players Ireland.

Rob Kearney: The Lions and Ireland full-back and seventh cousin of US President Joe Biden is a founding member of Mason Alexander Sports.

Girvan Dempsey: The Ireland full-back moved into coaching and is head of rugby at Colston’s School.

LEICESTER TIGERS

Geordan Murphy: The Ireland and Lions full-back is a former Tigers boss and is now a performance coach with Cleartrack Performance.

Scott Hamilton: The All Blacks winger was formally an account manager for G4S and is now an Elite Services Manager for betting agency TAB.

Ayoola Erinle: The England centre studied physics and engineering at Loughborough University and is a marine engineer for the Ministry of Defence.

Leinster’s Brian O’Driscoll is pressurised by Dan Hipkiss in the 2009 European Cup final (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Dan Hipkiss: The England centre became a chef and builders project manager and is the Matt Hampson Foundation’s Head of Learning & Development.

Alex Tuilagi: The Samoan winger is back coaching the Samoa A backs and has worked on television.

Heineken Cup Alesana Tuilagi
Leicester Tigers’s Alensa Tuilagi controls the ball against Leinster during the European Cup rugby union final at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland on May 23, 2009. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Sam Vesty: The England fly-half joined Northampton as a backs coach under Chris Boyd and is now head coach.

Julian Dupuy: The French international scrum-half coached at both Stade Francais and Toulon and is now backs coach at Provence Rugby

Marcos Ayerza: The Argentina prop runs a horse feed firm in Buenos Aires and is an intermediary consultant on Lithium Mines.

Premiership Team of the Decade
Marcos Ayerza

George Chuter: The England hooker works at an events company, Under the Posts, and is an occasional media analyst.

Martin Castrogiovanni: The Italian prop is now a television presenter in Rome working on Italy’s version of Britain’s Got Talent.

Tom Croft: The England and Lions lock part-owns a coffee bar at Leicester’s Welford Road and works for Davidsons Homes in the Midlands.

Ben Kay: The World Cup-winning lock is a partner in the ad agency Pablo London and is a pundit for TNT Sport and non-executive director of Leicester.

Craig Newby: The All Black back row is an assistant coach at Ulster after working as Director of Rugby at St John’s School in Leatherhead.

Ben Woods: The flanker is a players’ agent working as Head of Rugby at Quantum Sport.

Jordan Crane: England No. 8 who retired to become an Academy coach at Bristol Bears, where he is now the defence coach.

Jordan Crane kicks the winner for Leicester in the sudden death penalty shoot-out to decide the outcome of the Heineken Cup semi final versus Cardiff in 2009 (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Replacements
Benjamin Kayser: The French hooker has become a serial investor and has founded start-up firm Teampact Ventures, as well as regularly appearing in the media as a pundit.

Julian White: The England and Lions prop is raising cattle for the beef industry in Leicestershire and hosts holidaymakers.

Louis Deacon: England lock worked with Coventry before becoming England Women’s forwards’ coach in 2021.

Lewis Moody: The England Lions World Cup winner is now running coaching courses and is a Performance Coach at KBM Inspired.

Moody Leicester
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Harry Ellis: The England and Lions scrum-half is a Physical Education and Games teacher at his former school Leicester Grammar School.

Ollie Smith: The England and Lions centre coached at Esher, London Welsh and Bury St Edmunds.

Johne Murphy: The winger who is back in Ireland coaching Newbridge College and is a founder of the horse ownership platform Stride Racing.

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Turlough 1 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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