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.
The Ireland Women's team played their first ever November Test match at the Twickenham Stoop last Saturday. We take a look back at the journey as Ireland capped nine new players in a rain-swept London.
Ireland Women's head coach Tom Tierney said that despite an 8-3 loss to England in their autumn international, the team put in an 'outstanding' effort and to get nine new caps on the pitch is 'a massive boost'.
Head coach Tom Tierney spoke to Irish Rugby TV about the Ireland Women's historic November international clash with England on Saturday. Ireland have eleven new caps in the squad as they build towards the Six Nations.
Ireland Women's second row Sophie Spence talks to Irish Rugby TV about being nominated for the World Rugby Women's Player of the Year honour. The winner will be announced at the World Rugby Awards at Battersea Evolution in London on Sunday.
There are three enforced changes to the Ireland team to play Argentina, with Iain Henderson, Jordi Murphy and Chris Henry all coming in up front. Watch as head coach Joe Schmidt announces the side for the quarter-final and flanker Henry talks about his inclusion.
Previewing Ireland's quarter-final clash with Argentina, hooker Rory Best said: "We've trained well and prepared well. It's a massive game. For us, it's going to need another step up from where we were last week against France. I think that's exciting. As a player, you want to be pushed to the end of your ability and there's no doubt Argentina will do that."
Ireland Women's head coach Tom Tierney, scrum coach Derek Dowling and captain Niamh Briggs talk about their open training session at Kingspan Stadium and preparations for next month's clash with England and the 2016 Women's Six Nations.
'It's a quiet presence that takes up a lot of space' - Joe Schmidt spoke today about the impact of losing Paul O'Connell and his inspirational role in the Ireland squad. The head coach also commented on the incredible contribution of Jared Payne and Peter O'Mahony.
Robbie Henshaw, who starred in the centre against France, talks about Paul O'Connell's influence on him, calling the Limerick man a 'true inspirational leader' and 'a massive loss' to the Ireland squad following his tournament-ending hamstring injury.
Ireland team manager Michael Kearney issues an update on the injuries suffered by Peter O'Mahony, Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton, while full-back Rob Kearney reflects on the 24-9 pool win over France.