7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
The contrast in performance in the second half to that of the first was nothing short of remarkable, with Leinster scoring 27 unanswered points in the final 37 minutes.
And while the turnaround may have left some onlookers simply scratching their heads, former Clermont Auvergne backs coach Schmidt was in no doubt as to why his men triumphed in European Rugby's biggest game of the year.
"We weren't allowed to play really in the first half, and we then we didn't allow ourselves to play either," said Schmidt.
"I think there were six unforced errors from us, especially after line breaks when we really should have done better with the ball.
"There was one where Brian O'Driscoll ran about 20 metres, was five or 10 metres out from the line and lost the ball on the ground. Those sort of things are usually things we're a lot more clinical with.
"If we'd have held on to the ball and kept the pressure on in that half, then we would have been ok I think.
"The other tthing in the first half was the scrum. We really found it difficult to keep them down and, once they were up, we kept going backwards.
"They were two really difficult things for us. That made it all the more challenging but we coped much better in the second half."
So just how did Schmidt ensure his side didn't make the same mistakes in the second period?
Simple: scrum coach Greg Feek tweaked the angles at the setpiece and Schmidt reminded his squad of the need to stay patient in possession and to trust each other in the knowledge that the scores would come.
"Greg Feek got the forward pack together at half time and worked a bit of magic," added Schmidt, who helped guide Clermont to a French Championship title last season and is now on the verge of a unique double ahead of next weekend's Magners League Grand Final.
"We were very conscious that they come up in the scrum - the TV showed that last week against Leicester. We were trying to keep them down and keep them in the scrum and I thought we did that really well in the second half.
"We took a couple of minutes to recover at half time, not from the physical efforts but from the mental anguish of the first half.
"Then we got together and said, 'Right lads, if we hold on to the ball, construct some phases and start to get the tempo of the game and our rhythm going, there are opportunities out there. We've broken their line a few times and all we need to do is hold on to the ball beyond those line breaks and they'll either make an error or we'll get over the line.'
"I had a chat initially and then the players took it forward from there because in the end they've got to do it on the field, and they did it pretty well."
Schmidt reserved special praise for two of his team's star performers.
Fly-half Johnny Sexton stole the show with a personal haul of 28 points while flanker Sean O'Brien showed why he is among the nominees for the ERC European Player of the Year Award due to be announced on Monday.
"Johnny was great because he directs us around the field. He can run individually, he's a good defender and he brings a long kicking game and a varied kicking game. You saw bits and pieces of all of that today.
"Seany's been great for us all year. He's dominated the man of the match awards and the boys are a little bit unhappy about that! But he's merited every single one of them. His carrying and go forward was immense for us tonight."