Jamie Heaslip's post-match words second only to epic semi-final deeds
He was questioned [by me] during the Six Nations and each outing since Twickenham has been an emphatic answer.
One imagines harsh words, truly spoken, may have played a small part in Heaslip's excellent Spring form that has merrily bled into summer.
OPINION: How much longer are Ireland going to persist with 6 out of 10 Jamie Heaslip? https://t.co/nliiXo54Ct
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) March 1, 2016
The truth, however, is that Heaslip's inspiration comes from looking into the eyes of his teammates and catching a glimpse of his own in the changing room mirror.
Was he ready tonight? We knew from the first minute.
Everything Heaslip did, he did with purpose. Every carry made an impression and with a long draw of breath, he would plunge in again.
Leinster have a new crop coming through but they needed their senior players to have big games. Johnny Sexton, Isa Nacewa, Heaslip, Devin Toner, Luke Fitzgerald, they all did. Dave Kearney and Jack McGrath too.
His side may have been turned over, 30-6, in Belfast but Leinster are always confident at the RDS. Heaslip scanned the changing room before the kick-off - before Leinster went 13-0 up after 13 minutes - and he knew.
This was their day. He told us:
"If there was any doubt, it wasn't in our changing room.
"If I had've seen any doubt in anyone's eyes, I would have told them to get out of the changing room. There's no place there [for doubt]. You've been in changing rooms, you know what it's like.
"When it comes to this time in the competition, you've got to have the utter most confidence. You can't be cocky. You've got to earn their respect. Jesus, Ulster earned theirs in spades.
"But you've got to have confidence in your abilities. You've got to have confidence to focus on... you never doubt the effort but as long as you focus on your execution and your job - and win those moments, those battles - you've got to hope the outcome goes your way."
Every player did their job. Sure, it was far from flawless but rugby is too breathless and ragged to ever attain that goal.
The players backed up Heaslip's belief.
As for the No.8... He sucked it up and went again. Try, turnover, big hits and talking. Talking and cajoling all night.
"It's a semi-final," he said. "It's what you have to do."