London Wasps won the Amlin Challenge Cup in 2003 and then the Heineken Cup the following season, but there had never been an instance of the reigning Heineken Cup champions stepping down to win the Amlin Challenge Cup. But all that changed in 2013 when Leinster made it four European titles in five seasons with a triumph on their home pitch at the RDS, Dublin, on the eve of the 18th Heineken Cup final in the Irish capital.
Previous Amlin CC champions Gloucester and Bath went through their Pools unbeaten and were joined in the last eight by Perpignan, London Wasps and Stade Francais Paris. This season there was an open draw for the semi-finals after the three Heineken Cup qualifiers, Leinster, Toulouse and Biarritz Olympique, had played away in the quarters.
Biarritz, at Gloucester, and Leinster, at London Wasps, kept the Heineken Cup flag flying high in the semi-finals, but four time champions Toulouse found themselves beaten on their debut in the Challenge Cup as they were beaten 30-19 in Perpignan.
Perpignan's reward was a home tie with Stade Francais Paris, who had won 36-20 at Bath in the last eight, and the Parisians came away with the spoils once again on the road at Stade Aime Giral, winning 25-22. Leinster, meanwhile, beat Biarritz Olympique 44-16 at home.
That set up final between the reigning Heineken Cup champions and the team that had lost in its three previous European finals, Stade Francais. In the final appearance for Irish outside half Johnny Sexton and utility back Isa Nacewa, Leinster turned on the style to make it a unique hat-trick of European titles.
Their 34-13 triumph on home soil meant they had won the Heineken Cup in 2011 and 2012 and the Amlin Chllenge Cup in 2013.