Today, Wasps and Leinster both play for survival in the Heineken Cup. The Heineken Cup, for those not 'in the know' is the European club competition for Rugby Union. I say European, but I mean Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, France and Italy. Wasps are in Group 2.
Today, Wasps host Leinster. If Leinster wins the game, they will certainly go through. If Wasps win, then they will be at the top of the group, needing to beat Castres away in the final game (or if they lose, hope that Edinburgh beat Leinster, which isn't likely).
The game has moved to Twickenham today in order to get a bigger gate (i.e. sell tickets to the travelling Irish). The Irish are pretty vocal at the best of times, and I have the feeling that it'll feel like an away game today. Still let's hope the familiar surroundings help.
The winner of each group, plus the two second place teams with the highest points tally, go forward to the quarter finals. Then we have a knockout competition.
|15. Mark Van Gisbergen 14. Paul Sackey 13. Dominic Waldouck 12. Riki Flutey 11. Josh Lewsey 10. Danny Cipriani 9. Eoin Reddan||1. Tim Payne 2. Rob Webber 3. Phil Vickery (C) 4. Simon Shaw 5. Richard Birkett 6. Joe Worsley 7. Serge Betsen 8. James Haskell||16. Joe Ward 17. Tom French 18. George Skivington 19. Dan Leo 20. Joe Simpson 21. Dave Walder 22. Tom Voyce|
(Update: Simon Shaw was injured, so Skivington took his place, and Hugo Ellis stepped up as a reserve)
Wasps have not had a good season to date, and a languishing near the bottom of the premiership, but the team do thrive on the 'big events', at their best, this is a team that can Leinster.
The issue is simply, will they be at their best?
Van Gisbergen has been on form of late, and I'm pleased that Wasps will have Dave Walder to call on.
For completeness, this is Leinster's lineup:
|15: Rob Kearney 14: Shane Horgan 13: Brian O’Driscoll 12: Felipe Contepomi 11: Luke Fitzgerald 10: Isa Nacewa 9: Chris Whitaker||1: Stan Wright / Cian Healy 2: Bernard Jackman 3: CJ van der Linde / Ollie le Roux 4: Leo Cullen CAPTAIN 5: Malcolm O’Kelly 6: Rocky Elsom 7: Shane Jennings 8: Jamie Heaslip||16: John Fogarty 17: Cian Healy / Ollie le Roux 18: Trevor Hogan 19: Sean O’Brien 20: Chris Keane 21: Gordon D’Arcy 22: Girvan Dempsey|
We have our tickets for the game (they arrived yesterday - talk about cutting it fine, Wasps!) - and I hope we're able to get to Twickenham with time to enjoy the craic.
Update: Wasps won, 19-12. There was a phenomenal try which resulted from a superb run by Lewsey, who passed to Sackey (who did well to fend off two players, but didn't pass to his support who had a clear run). The ball was fumbled on the line, and Serge Betsen picked it up to score. Cipriani didn't have a good game - David Walder kicked the final points of the game.
Update 2: The announcement at the end of the game was in error. Wasps are SECOND in the pool. If drawn on points, the table is sorted upon the points difference of the scores in the games, not upon games won.