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Jack Conan was delighted by Leinster's defensive performance in the 14-13 Pro 12 victory over Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.
Isa Nacewa's 58th-minute try proved the difference, as Leo Cullen's side prevailed in wet and windy conditions in the Welsh capital.
Josh Navidi's 77th-minute try, converted by Rhys Patchell, brought the Blues back to within a point, and the home side could have nicked victory had Patchell's late drop-goal attempt been successful.
The victory sees Leinster move to the top of the Pro 12 table for the first time in 18 months, although Connacht can return to the top if they beat Zebre later on Saturday evening.
"I think our discipline proved crucial," man of the match Conan told Sky Sports.
"We saw them before the game knocking over points from very far out and we decided we had to be tight and solid and not give them easy access into the game.
"Our defensive effort at the end showed how much we were up for it, and how much we really wanted it.
"A lot of our defensive quality is about state of mind, hunger and how much you want it. The lads showed a lot of grit and toughness in those dying minutes to hold out when we were against the wall."
Leinster skipper Nacewa, who joked afterwards that he had "never been so cold in a game", felt sure his side had the intensity to hold out in the second half despite only securing a 6-3 lead at half-time thanks to two Ian Madigan penalties.
"We had guys like Jack and Mick Kearney coming back, and they have driven us the whole week. We have worked hard for this game, and in testing conditions, it had to be enough and we dug deep when we really needed to."