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Few sides have made quite the impact in the Heineken Cup as European heavyweights Munster and London Wasps, so anticipation was high that the pair could throw up a classic game at Lansdowne Road on April 25, 2004.Yet few could have predicted quite what was to happen as the game ebbed and flowed one way then another, before a try six minutes into injury time by hooker Trevor Leota sealed a place in the final for the English raiders.Coming into the game both teams were in red hot form and Wasps full back Mark van Gisbergen recalls pre match optimism was high."We were on a roll at the time," he said. "That year we had so much confidence. We had such a good team. Quite a few of the boys had been together for a while before I got here, and had quite a few years at Wasps. I think everyone had been playing together for that long Converse Sale Adelaide
try of the game.Munster kept the scoreboard ticking over with two further Converse Shoes Buy Online O'Gara penalties before the visitors' hopes were raised when O'Gara limped off injured after 33 minutes. Jason Holland took over the kicking duties and nudged Munster ahead, but significantly the English team took a slender 17 15 half time advantage after Wasps scrum half Rob Howley charged down a Holland kick and openside flanker Paul Volley went in for a try.Yet despite holding a narrow lead at the break, Voyce recalls a sense of frustration."I sat down at half time cursing and swearing at myself," he explained. "I had charged down a kick from (Peter) Stringer towards the end of the half but couldn't quite grasp the ball. If I'd have held on it would have been an easy try, and we would have had a massive half time lead."Voyce's frustration was eased, however, two minutes after the break when he helped set up a try finished by Van Gisbergen, who added modestly of the five points: "(Rob) Howley shot back blind and I just went over the line."But the Irish province were not about to go down without a fight. Fired up amid an uproarious Lansdowne Road atmosphere, Munster hit back and flanker Anthony Foley was awarded a try, despite appearing to have earlier spilled the ball in the tackle."I remember thinking, how's that a try?" admitted Voyce. "Dallaglio was shouting something at me from a few yards away, but I couldn't even hear because of the noise of the crowd."MomentumWith the momentum in Munster's favour Donnacha O'Callaghan stole the ball in the line out and skipper Jim Williams crossed the try line to open up a ten point lead. But as Van Gisbergen recalls, Wasps refused to be fazed by their predicament."It never felt like we were going to lose it," he insists. "I don't know whether that sounds arrogant, but even when they got those two tries and went 10 points clear I still thought we are going to win."It was now Wasps turn to roar back at their Irish opponents and a penalty by Alex King reduced the arrears. Down to 13 men after the sin binning of O'Callaghan and Rob Henderson Munster started to look ragged and when Voyce touched down under the posts after being left one on one with Stringer, and King converted, the scores were level.The Wasps winger described the try as "a huge relief" but, interestingly, recalls the determining game decision was only made thanks to the vagaries of the stadium clock. Unlike any previous game Voyce recalls, the clock kept pausing for stoppages and this gave a false perspective to the players of the time remaining in the game.Clock"I didn't know at the time but the clock on Sky TV said 85 minutes had gone," he adds. "If I would have known that, I would have probably kicked for the touchline but thinking there was now more time than that left I went on the outside and ran back as hard as I could. I popped the ball to Gis (Van Gisbergen) and good old Trevor Leota touched down in the corner."The video referee confirmed the decisive try, sparking scenes of elation for Wasps, who had booked their ticket to the final thanks to a rollercoaster 37 32 victory.Both Van Gisbergen and Voyce agree it was the finest game the pair have ever featured in, with the latter player fondly recalling the gracious post match attitude shown by the Munster supporters."It had been such a great game and their supporters wished us the best of luck for the final," added Voyce. "A lot of the Munster fans had pre booked for the final and they promised they would be supporting us in the final. It was a watershed game for Wasps and it was a watershed game for me because it justified to myself that I could perform in the big games."
everything gelled together that year."But the Londoners were to face a huge test of their credentials at Lansdowne Road as the easy charm of the Munster supporters in the days preceding the game had given way to open hostility on match day.And Wasps' winger Tom Voyce recalls the pre match atmosphere with some unease."I'd never seen anything like it," said Voyce. "Their supporters were banging on the coach. I thought it was going to roll over. I was sat next to Lawrence (Dallaglio) who also copped a bit of flak. It was quite an eye opener."Once at the ground London Wasps were met with a sea of red and a deafening roar from the passionate 'home' supporters. However, the English Premiership team had to ignore the partisan support and concentrate on the job in hand and Voyce recalls the key tactic was to target Munster fly half Ronan O'Gara, their main playmaker and kicking weapon.Talisman"O'Gara is their leader, their talisman," explained Voyce. "We were not the best, at the time, at set piece and line outs and we knew he would kick for the corners where they would find (Paul) O'Connell (the second rower). Our tactic was to run at Ronan as hard as we could. We knew he was a weak tackler, and it's something we did really well on the day."Wasps, however, were a little over enthusiastic in the early stages and trailed to an Converse Black Womens Shoes
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