London Wasps advanced to their first Heineken Cup final with a thrilling 37-32 win over Munster at a packed Lansdowne Road.
Wasps advanced to their first Heineken Cup final with a thrilling 37-32 win over Munster at Lansdowne Road. Wasps, coached by former Ireland chief Warren Gatland, will nowface defending champions Toulouse in the final at Twickenham on May 23. The result added to Munster's European Cup misery - this was theirfifth successive European Cup semi-final but they have yet to win thetrophy. English champions Wasps had to overcome a 10-point deficit midwaythrough the second half but rallied and won a dramatic match when Samoahooker Tervor Leota went over in the closing stages for their fifth try. Wasps and England captain Lawrence Dallaglio said: "This gamehad courage, passion, skill, everything... It was a great game of rugby." Meanwhile New Zealander Gatland said: "I can't take thesmile off my face. "I thought the team showed great character. Not many teamscome back from a 10-point deficit against Munster. "I was very concerned at 32-22 behind. But this group ofplayers just has such a great work ethic and we didn't want to leave this behindus." Munster's Australian coach Alan Gaffney said losing Irelandfly-half Ronan O'Gara on the half-hour mark was an "enormous loss to us". He added: "Ronan's kicking game might have closed the gamedown for us. Wasps are a very good side but we missed too many first-up tacklesand allowed them to gain momentum." But Munster skipper and former Wallaby back-row Jim Williams said:"We've only got ourselves to blame. We talked about discipline and fieldposition before the game but we let them (Wasps) back into it." An action-packed first-half half ended with Wasps two points up at17-15 but a man down after England flanker Joe Worsley was yellow cardedfor killing the ball in the 34th minute. O'Gara gave Munster the lead in the opening minute with the firstof three penalties. Wasps responded three minutes later when Richard Birkett won alineout, the ball was worked across field and England wing Josh Lewsey crossed andfly-half Alex King converted. King and O'Gara added to the penalty tally before O'Gara departed.
Then came Worsley's sin-binning and O'Gara's replacement, JasonHolland, landed the resulting penalty to leave Munster 12-10 up. However, minutes later, Holland went from hero to villain when his clearance kick was charged down by former Wales scrum-half Rob Howley. The number nine, who almost got over the line himself, instead fedflanker Paul Volley for an opportunist try. But Holland's second penalty on the stroke of half-time reducedthe gap to 17-15 in Wasps' favour. Wasps though caught Munster cold at the start of the second halfwith a well-worked try. Left-wing Tom Voyce scythed his way crossfield through the Munsterdefence before full-back Mark van Gisbergen dived over in the right corner. Williams went to the video referee who confirmed the score andalthough King missed the touchline conversion, Wasps seemingly had breathingspace at 22-15. Worsley returned with his side in the lead before Holland's thirdpenalty reduced the gap to 22-18. Wasps then had a second-player sin-binned when, in the 51stminute, centre Fraser Waters was ordered off. And Munster then turned the game on its head with two tries in asmany minutes. In the 59th minute, following flanker Stephen Keogh's break, No.8Anthony Foley went over for a try. Holland landed a superb touchline conversion and Munster were25-22 ahead. The crowd went even more noisy when, following Holland's superbgrubber kick, Munster won the ball and skipper Williams was driven over. Holland added the extras to put Munster 10 points in front at32-22 with 20 minutes left. But Wasps refused to yield and King's penalty in the 67th minuteclosed the gap. And Wasps' recovery continued when, with Munster down to 13 menfollowing the sin-binnings of Donncha O'Callaghan and former Wasp RobHenderson, Voyce crossed for a try. King's conversion tied the game at 32-32 with barely six minutesremaining before Leota powered over to give Wasps the edge.
Ireland will host the 'Women's Sevens Dublin' at UCD on Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23. Tournament director Garrett Tubridy and Ireland stars Lucy Mulhall, Jenny Murphy and Louise Galvin speak about their excitement ahead of the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series qualifier.
Coach Allen Clarke and stand-in captain Billy Holland answer questions from the media following Emerging Ireland's 45-12 victory over Georgia in the final round of their successful Tbilisi Cup campaign.
Emerging Ireland coach Allen Clarke speaks about his side's five-try 33-7 win over Uruguay in the Tbilisi Cup and the first half injury to captain Rhys Ruddock. They wrap up the tournament against hosts Georgia on Sunday.
Speaking about the floods that occurred following the Tbilisi Cup's first round, Emerging Ireland team manager Joey Miles said: "A natural event like that, a tragedy like that puts the game of rugby into perspective. We express our regrets to the Georgian people and the Georgian Union for the terrible tragedy that they had."
Leinster and Ireland prop Martin Moore gives his support to the IRFU Charitable Trust's Corporate Patron Scheme, and Mick Quinn explains the benefits for companies getting involved. For further information, please contact Linda Black of the Charitable Trust - telephone (01) 6473866 or email: email@example.com / http://www.irishrugby.ie/news/34728.php.
David O'Reilly from the IRFU Charitable Trust's Corporate Patrons Committee speaks about the new scheme which provides businesses with unique networking opportunities and provides a platform for companies to effectively activate their CSR programmes. For further information, please contact Linda Black of the Charitable Trust - telephone (01) 6473866 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.irishrugby.ie/news/34728.php.
We spoke to Leinster and Ireland winger Dave Kearney after the Captain's Run at Thomond Park as he prepares to take on some familiar faces and some well-capped stars when the Ireland XV play the Barbarians.
Leinster prop Tadhg Furlong is one of two uncapped players in the Ireland XV starting team to play the Barbarians. We caught up with the young prop at Thomond Park as he prepares to pull on the green jersey.
Jamie Heaslip will captain the Ireland XV against the Barbarians at Thomond Park on Thursday. He spoke to Irish Rugby TV about facing the star-studded visitors and the battle he is relishing with his Leinster colleague Shane Jennings, who captains the Baa Baas.
Ireland Under-20 head coach Nigel Carolan has likened the World Rugby Under-20 Championship to 'a mini Six Nations in three weeks'. His side take on Argentina in their tournament opener in Parma next Tuesday.
Ireland Under-20 backs Nick McCarthy and Garry Ringrose and Feargal O'Rourke from team sponsors PwC spoke to Irish Rugby TV as the squad prepare for the World Rugby U-20 Championship which starts next week in Italy.
We caught up with Sean O'Brien at the Canterbury Ireland training kit launch where he spoke about next week's Barbarians game, the build-up to the Rugby World Cup and 'moving forward' with Leinster next season.