Brian O'Driscoll believes the first all-Irish Heineken Cup final can only have a positive effect on his next big mission - tackling the world champion All Blacks.

Ireland will head to New Zealand for Test matches in Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton next month.

They have never beaten New Zealand in 24 previous attempts, but Ireland's dominance of the Heineken Cup this season, providing both finalists and an additional quarter-finalist, should at least see them travel in confident mood.

"Having two provinces in the Heineken Cup final is great," Ireland captain O'Driscoll said, after he played a key role in Leinster's 42-14 Twickenham drubbing of Ulster.

"And we have to use that confidence and channel it in the best possible way for the tour down in New Zealand.

"We have one more game to focus on with Leinster, and then we will be in camp and switched on to the job of travelling down there and hopefully getting our first win against New Zealand."

O'Driscoll, despite undergoing minor knee surgery earlier this month, delivered another inspired performance on the big occasion as Leinster cut loose to win their second European title of coach Joe Schmidt's reign.

It was a third Heineken triumph for them in four seasons, while their New Zealand lock Brad Thorn became the first player in rugby history to win a World Cup, Heineken Cup and Super Rugby title.

"We are encouraged to play - that is a philosophy of Joe's," O'Driscoll added.

"He wants us to go out, express ourselves and play a good brand of running rugby. It has been a good fit since he's been here. That is the way the lads want to play."

Asked what drives him on, 33-year-old O'Driscoll said: "Medals and trophies.

"It is about being selfish and wanting more now."

NZ Newswire

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