Now that the dust has settled, Planet Rugby thought it only right to hand out some praise to the star players of the 2011/12 Heineken Cup season.
Unsurprisingly, the two Irish finalists contribute the bulk of the team with a healthy sprinkling coming from semi-finalists Clermont and Edinburgh.
Five players hail from south of the equator.
Heineken Cup Team of the Tournament
15 Rob Kearney (Leinster): The Ireland full-back's ERC Player of the Year award speaks for itself. That said, if this team had been picked after the pool stages it would have been tough to leave out Mike Brown, who scored five tries for Harlequins. But Kearney was sublime in the knock-out matches, scoring twice in the quarter-final against Cardiff to move his tally to six before setting up the match-changing try against Clermont in the semis.
14 Timoci Matanavou (Toulouse): Despite a few errors - most notably at Murrayfield in the quarter-finals - we couldn't ignore the tournament's top try scorer. The fast-improving Fijian finished with eight touchdowns. Mentions too for Sitiveni Sivivatu and Andrew Trimble.
13 Aurélien Rougerie (Clermont): A tough decision to make as there weren't many stand-out 13s. Brian O'Driscoll was brilliant on his return, but he only played three games. Rougerie, however, was a consistent threat in midfield in all seven of his appearances.
12 Wesley Fofana (Clermont): We don't expect too many arguments here, even if Fofana missed the most crucial try of the year by half an inch. The 24-year-old is arguably the most dangerous runner in Europe at the moment, and he's only getting better. Mentions too for the Scarlets' Jonathan Davies and Ashley Beck, who scored four tries for the Ospreys.
11 Tim Visser (Edinburgh): With a double strike against Racing Metro and a total of four tries in the tournament, the Pro12 Player of the Year highlighted why he is considered the best thing to come out of Holland since sliced gouda. Craig Gilroy was excellent for Ulster and can consider himself unlucky to have been overlooked for Ireland's June touring squad.
10 Jonathan Sexton (Leinster): The 26-year-old was this season's top points scorer. But you don't win the title by just kicking over points and Sexton ticked all the boxes in the playmaker's role. We liked the look of Greig Laidlaw too.
9 Ruan Pienaar (Ulster): No hesitation here. Pienaar was unlucky not to be named as European club rugby's best player. A Springbok call-up is expected.
8 Netani Talei (Edinburgh): The Fijian international played a massive role in getting Edinburgh to the semi-finals, bagging three tries along the way. Pedrie Wannenburg had a strong season for Ulster, but will not be happy with his performance in the final.
7 Sean O'Brien (Leinster): The hardest position to pick with a number candidates making strong cases, especially Julien Bonnaire and Mamuka Gorgodze. In the end, O'Brien's try in the final along with the Man of the Match gong at Twickenham tipped the scales in his favour.
6 Stephen Ferris (Ulster): Probably the only other realistic contender for the ERC Player of the Year award. Ferris started all nine games for Ulster and 'tireless' does not even begin to describe his efforts in and around the rucks. He put his body on the line like no other. Peter O'Mahony has a bright future for Munster while Gerhard Vosloo impressed for Clermont before injury cut his season short.
5 Nathan Hines (Clermont): No need to teach this dog any new tricks, the old ones are still working just fine. A big man was required to fill the gap left at Leinster and Brad Thorn's arrival in Dublin came at a crucial time.
4 Johann Muller (Ulster): Muller's stats for tackles made and line-outs won boggle the mind. He might be from South Africa, but the Ulster skipper's selfless contribution has made him the toast of Belfast.
3 John Afoa (Ulster): The All Black import has made a huge impact in his first season in the northern hemisphere, adding some real grunt to the Ulster front row. A mention too for Clermont's Davit Zirakashvili.
2 Rory Best (Ulster): Quite literally at the centre of Ulster's forward effort, Best played all nine games for the losing finalists and seldom put a foot wrong. Richardt Strauss also had a strong campaign for Leinster.
1 Cian Healy (Leinster) : The scorer of the only try in Leinster's nail-biting semi-final in Bordeaux before touching down again in an excellent display the final, Healy played a key role in both tight and the loose.