"Toulouse, their pedigree speaks for itself," said No.8Dallaglio of the French giants. "But it's almost disrespectful of me to starttalking about Toulouse after such a fantastic game of rugby.
"But if you had to play someone in a Heineken Cup Final,you'd want it to be Toulouse, Leicester, and Munster, because they are the hallmark ofEuropean rugby."
In a thrilling match, played in front of a capacity 48,000 and overwhelmingly Munster supporting crowd, Wasps came from 32-22 downwith 20 minutes to go to win in the closing stages when Samoa hooker TrevorLeotacrossed for their fifth.
Both Dallaglio and English champions Wasps's former Walesscrum-half Rob Howley said the match was every bit as equal an occasion as any international they'd played. "We've both been in some amazing games and this is up therewith them," said Dallaglio, whose team outscored Munster five tries to two toreach their first Heineken Cup final.
"It had courage, passion, skill, the game had everything. TheMunster supporters made it a very special occasion. It was a bearpit, agladiatorial environment."
And he insisted there was no panic when Wasps conceded two trieswithin two minutes on the hour mark to leave Munster 32-22 in front. "We weren't best pleased but there were over 20 minutes leftin the game. We were dug in a hole but we knew if we played through three phases wecould score especially as they were starting to tire."
Howley, whose charge down of Jason Holland's kick, led to one ofWasps' tries added: "This was a great game to play in. This is theshop-window of European rugby, the best tournament in the northern hemisphere. This was up with being selected for the Lions in 2001."
"Not too many players come in and not many go out and that'svery special."
Dallaglio also praised the contribuition of Wasps former Irelandcoach Warren Gatland. The New Zealander arrived at the club two-and-a-half years agoafter being axed by Ireland and No.8 Dallaglio said this win would beextra-special for the Wasps director of rugby. "When Warren arrived at the club we were bottom of thePremiership. What he's achieved since then is very impressive."
Gatland himself said: "I can't take the smile off my face.The carrot for us was knowing that the final would be played at Twickenham (on May23rd). It is a ground we know and we have been there before."
Meanwhile Wasps defence coach Shaun Edwards the former Wigan andGreat Britain international, marvelled at the quality of the semi-final. "You wouldn't want to rub that game off your video, wouldyou? It was the best game I've ever seen in league or union."
But for Munster that was scant consolation. This was their fifthsuccessive semi-final but defeat means they have still to win the Heineken Cup. This was not as narrow a reverse as last season's 13-12 semi lossagainst Toulouse or their 9-8 defeat by Northampton in the 2000 final.Coach Alan Gaffney, said: "The boys arebitterly disappointed but there's no reason why they can't come back from thisalthough this will have to be one of the tougher ones, especially as were 10points in front."
AFP - 2004.