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Good News for Gatland’s Wasps.

Good News for Gatland’s Wasps.

London Wasps lock Simon Shaw has been passed fit
to play in Sunday’s Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster at
Lansdowne Road.

London Wasps lock Simon Shaw has been passed fit
to play in Sunday’s Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster at
Lansdowne Road.

England second-row Shaw underwent a scan yesterday after
sustaining what
was thought to be a rib injury during last weekend’s Premiership
match against
Leeds Tykes.

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Shaw started the Headingley match on the bench but came on midway
the second half to help English champions Wasps to a hard-fought 11-7

However, Shaw (30) appeared to be the victim of a stamping
although there was confusion as to whether he had suffered from foul
after a touch judge raised his flag only to change his mind.

Although it was first thought Shaw was suffering only from bruised
there were fears that the pain he suffered up until the final whistle
indicative of spleen damage.

But his scan erased those fears and Wasps coach Warren Gatland
said having
the 6ft 9ins Shaw in the pack would be a huge boost to his side as
they chased
their first European Cup title.
“Losing Simon would have been a huge blow for us so we’re
delighted that
he’s been given the all-clear. He’s a crucial part of the team,”
said Gatland.

Many thought Shaw was unlucky not be included in Clive Woodward’s
World Cup squad although he did eventually make it to Australia as a
replacement for injured lock Danny Grewcock.

Under tournament rules, the semi-finals are played at a ‘neutral’
venue in
the country of one of the competing clubs.
In practice this means Wasps will arrive at a packed Lansdowne
Road with
some 45,000 home fans roaring Munster on with only some, 2,500
supporters of
the London club crossing the Irish Sea.

But London Wasps, led by England captain Lawrence Dallaglio, are well
used to
hostile environments – in their final Pool match they travelled to
French club
Perpignan in February and won 36-4.

“We were delighted when we beat Gloucester in the
quarter-finals because
playing at a packed Landsdowne Road where most of the fans will be
Munster is something we’ll relish,” said New Zealander Gatland.

“It was a daunting task going to Perpignan but we came
through that well.
There is no trepidation among the players over the task facing us on
Sunday –
it’s a massive challenge and the team will respond to it.

“If we play to our potential then we can beat Munster and
that’s what we’re
setting out to do.

“They are the heart and soul of the Ireland side, so we’re
familiar with
them. We know their strengths and weaknesses and will look to exploit

AFP – 2004.