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Wasps Have Real Sting - Gaffney
4 April 2004, 1:37 pm
Munster are through to their 5th successive Heineken Cup semi-final but coach Alan Gaffney believes that London Wasps, their opponents at Lansdowne Road, "don t have many weaknesses if any."
Munster are through to their fifth successive Heineken Cup semi-final but coach Alan Gaffney believes that London Wasps, their opponents at Lansdowne Road on Sunday, don t have many weaknesses if any.

The home of Irish rugby will be packed to the rafters for this Anglo-Irish collision with a place in the showpiece final against French opposition at Twickenham 28 days later the glittering prize.

It is a huge game, said Gaffney. Munster have been to the semi-finals before but any time you qualify for this level of match it is something that is hugely important for the players, supporters and the province in general. And we will be playing the English champions who look as if they are quite capable of winning that title again this season so it is going to be a very tough game for us.

They have quality players throughout their team and are an all-round side with a very strong pack. In the quarter-finals they destroyed Gloucester in the lineout and scrum and mauled them all over the paddock. Their backs are a quality outfit with lots of pace.

They have been scoring a lot of tries while scrum-half Rob Howley had a super game against Gloucester. But if I was to be asked where this game will be won I'd have to say up front. They've got a very very strong forward pack. They destroyed Gloucester and did a job on Nothampton as well both those recognised as top notch.

But then again you look across their backline and they have guys like Mark Van Gisbergen, Josh Lewsey, Howley, and Alex King. They're trong from one to fifteen but then when you get to this stage of the competition you expect sides to be strong right across the field."

As for Munster, we also have big match players who have been around a long time. We know what we have to do and we will be refining that this week. Whether we can do it and be allowed to do it remains to be seen, but we are pretty sure that what we intend to do is on the money.

The pitch will be awash with World Cup winners and Triple Crown champions with Munster reporting a virtual full strength squad to select from as they bid to reach a third final in front of what is expected to be a capacity crowd dominated by Irish supporters. We will be able to select from a full strength squad, apart from Alan Quinlan, said Gaffney.

Lansdowne Road will be very vocal but we will not be relying on that support. It will be a plus, a positive, but I don t think it will faze Gloucester in any way whatsoever they play in some pretty volatile places in England and will be well used to that sort of atmosphere.

While London Wasps go into the semi-final on the back of a win that puts them on the heels of Bath Rugby at the top of the Zurich Premiership, a virtual shadow Munster side went down 28-17 at home to Edinburgh Rugby in the Celtic League.

Considering the side we put out we had changed from one to 10 and 13, while they had a full team out I thought it was not a bad performance at all, and some of it was very good. We did not win the game and four tries to one sounds like a pretty extensive hammering but I did not see it like that at all though I may be looking at it through rose-coloured glasses!

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