The two Heineken Cup final coaches, Joe Schmidt and Brian McLaughlin came face-to-face 13 days before their two teams meet at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, 19 May and it was the Leinster Rugby chief who came out on top at the RaboDirect PRO12 Awards night in Cardiff.
Both Schmidt and McLaughlin were shortlisted for the RaboDirect PRO12 'Coach of the Year' title, along with Glasgow Warriors' Sean Lineen, and it was Schmidt who followed in the footsteps of Munster Rugby's Tony McGahan in scooping the top award.
But as well as congratulating Schmidt, McLaughlin also had a few words for Lineen, whose team tackle Leinster in the PRO12 semi-finals in Dublin on Satuday: "Give them hell!"
While Leinster are preparing for their trip to Twickenham by trying to keep alive their hopes of doing the double with their home clash with Glasgow this weekend, McLaughlin has taken his squad to Portugal for four days of warm-weather preparation.
"it was great to see Leo Cullen pick up the Fair Play Award for Leinster, and Johnny Sexton win the Golden Boot, but these trophies don't mean nearly as much as the team's performance, which we are all driven to deliver," said Schmidt.
"It's neat to get it, but it's all about the collective and, hopefully, there can be a successful couple of weeks ahead for us. It was ironic that the other two guys who were up for this award were Sean Lineen, who we come up against this weekend, and then Brian McLaughlin.
"Brian is a super fella and I've got to go up against him the following weekend in the Heineken Cup final. I am a little bit overawed by the company I am in, especially as I'm following in the footsteps of Tony McGahan, who has done such a good job with Munster.
"I've got a great bunch of players to work with and Leinster is a great breeding ground at the moment. The Academy is working hard to produce players and that is making my job easier.
"We also have a great back room staff with great conditioning and medical staff. Then the other coaches, Jonno Gibbes, Greg Feek and Richie Murphy, are all doing great jobs, which means I'm the lucky benefactor of a lot of people's efforts.
"We hopefully have three big weeks ahead of us, and we would love to win both competitions, but we are existing from week to week. We haven't made any ambitious statements other than hoping to be in front on the scoreboard against Glasgow on Saturday.
"Once we've got that out of the way we will look ahead to the Heineken Cup final."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.