18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
And Howells knows winning in such a manner will help his side mature and give them invaluable experience as they aim to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.
"If we had lost this game our Heineken Cup campaign would have been over," said Howells.
"But the team showed real character. We have critics who say we don't have backbone, but I think this performance answered those critics."
But Howells knows the hard work is still to come, and concentration will be crucial in the coming rounds.
"We can't afford to keep losing so much ball in possession when we meet Gloucester in December. That was one of our downfalls against Leinster.
"The intensity of the game was near international level and it's great that our layers are becoming comfortable and competitive against teams like Leinster.
"We are a maturing side and we have showed in the opening two rounds that we are not going to give in and we are not going to panic."