View Full Version : Munster v. Wasps, HC Semi-final

27-04-04, 20:04
I was in Dublin on Sunday for the Heineken Cup semi at Lansdowne Road and WOW! The stadium is amazing - I know there's a plan to get rid of it and build a new one, which is kind of a shame. The acoustics at Lansdowne Road just defy the laws of physics - it's like being sat inside a loudspeaker when the crowd gets going. And the crowd got going plenty on Sunday! Us Waspies were outnumbered by 45,000 to 3,000, so I had to do 15 times as much shouting as normal, which was a bit of a losing battle! I'm sure the sound should escape from the open terraces, but once the Red Army got going on Fields of Athenry, the whole place just reverberated...

The match itself was incredible; so tense I only have hazy recollections of it!.. a feeling of hope when Josh scored after 4 minutes... a feeling of despair when Worzle got himself sin-binned... a feeling of frustration when Foley scored, apparently (from where I was sat) from a blatant knock-on... a feeling of absolute dejection, sick to the stomach, when Williams scored to put them ahead by 32-22 and the Munster crowd around us got going properly... a feeling of disbelief when Voyce scored to tie the game... unbelievable tension when Leota crossed the line and the decision went to the TMO... sheer, unbridled elation and joy when Nigel Williams blew the whistle and raised his arm to signal the try was good... hugging complete strangers in Wasps jerseys and not wanting to leave Lansdowne Road until the stewards chucked us out... complete and utter exhaustion, both mental and physical, as the adrenalin wore off and we walked back into town... Most of the details of the game are a blur - I'll watch the tape when I next visit my girlfriend's parents!

I even had that Irish bloke who presents the holiday programme on TV sat behind me! On a serious note, I have nothing but good things to say about the Munster fans - a nicer bunch of folk I haven't met in a good long while. As magnanimous in defeat as I'm sure they would have been in victory, they made a potentially hostile and intimidating venue feel quite welcoming. Goodness knows they deserve some sort of reward for having been perennial nearly men. So impressed was I with the fans, I bought myself a Munster scarf after the game and in the future, I shall cheer Munster on in the HC like they're my own team (assuming they're not playing Wasps of course - there are limits!). Any Munster fans out there reading this (Red Munster!)you do great credit to yourselves, your team and our wonderful sport.

And for those of you who are as curious as I was before I went to Dublin - the Guinness really does taste better! It's sort of lighter and crisper - a feeling of freshness, instead of being a drink you have to chew...

Account Deleted
10-05-04, 12:05
Below are a few comments taken from a website discussion. The debate was Union V league which is the hardest. Now I don't want to go down that route (pointless and futile) The jurno making the first quote Said Wasps deserve the win but.....

"On Sunday in Dublin, Wasps deliberately singled out Ronan O'Gara for violent attention. He duly had to go off in the first half. It was a crucial loss. Well though his replacement, Jason Holland, played, there is no knowing how the balance might have shifted if O'Gara had been able to direct some long kicks into the corners."

Two replies are given below. I did not see the game so would welcome feedback from those who did.

"I am glad that someone else raises the issue of the Ronan O'Gara incidents. I am in no doubt that gatland's tactic was to put O'Gara off the paddock - the sheer brutality that he had to deal with, went beyond the norm and it worries me that such an idea can be seen as a legitimate tactic. Wasps were guilty of misconduct - it resembled the bad days of Brive on times. They aimed to injure him and - sadly - they succeded. It leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth."

"..........On different tack - the points about O'Gara are accurate - they just tried to take him out from the start."

11-05-04, 12:05
To be honest, this sounds like sour grapes. The Wasps defence is well-known for coming up fast (sometimes so fast, they even look like they might be off-side!!), but Wasps are NOT a team of thugs. "Violent attention" is an unfair and slanderous way of describing pretty much every tackle, from both sides, in a hard, high-quality game of rugby in which no quarter was given and none asked for. Wasps did not "try to take out" O'Gara - they tried to shut down Munster's fly-half, regardless of who that was. Holland found himself receiving every bit as much "violent attention", but did not have to go off injured. The Wasps tactic was to give the Munster backline untidy ball from the forwards and then to tackle them behind the gain line - and repeat as much as possible. Every tackle made by every player of both teams looked painful, because it was such an important game to them - if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen; if you can't take hard contact, don't play professional rugby.

To all those who claim Wasps "aimed to injure" O'Gara, I say: you are cheapening what was a magnificently competitive and spectacular game of rugby with unfounded and unfair allegations. Stop whinging.

Robert Burns
12-05-04, 22:05
To be fair though when O'gara went off so should have a wasps player (can't remember who) for 10 mins, it was out of order that incident, but it's not unlike any other rugby game. And the ref dealt with it very well.

16-05-04, 21:05
To be fair though when O'gara went off so should have a wasps player (can't remember who) for 10 mins, it was out of order that incident, but it's not unlike any other rugby game. And the ref dealt with it very well.

Eh?? How exactly was it out of order? O'Gara's injury was a long time in the build-up. He took a heavy knock making a bad attempt at tackling Volley, then caught an accidental knee in the face during another poor tackle on Lewsey. He received some brief attention but continued playing. Then, while lying on the floor at a breakdown, he suffered the misfortune of a nearby Alex King dump tackle on Peter Stringer, who landed on him. Play was stopped for a separate penalty incident, which O'Gara thumped into touch and in doing so pulled his hamstring! A series of unfortunate accidents. Where's the foul play there?

Robert Burns
20-05-04, 03:05

I must be thinking of a different event or something, I thought there was a punch throw at him before he went off?

probably combining games as I was mildly intoxicated at the time.

20-05-04, 10:05

I must be thinking of a different event or something, I thought there was a punch throw at him before he went off?

probably combining games as I was mildly intoxicated at the time.

OK, intoxication, valid excuse! There was absolutely no foul play involved in ROG's injury, and certainly no punching. Yes, Wasps when in possession of the ball ran a lot of traffic up his channel, since he was the weakest tackler in Munster's back-line, but the injury itself was sheer misfortune. In fact, ROG's absence did the Munster defence some favours, because Holland was a considerably more robust tackler forcing Wasps to use different options. Munster's attack didn't suffer from ROG going off nearly as much as the pundits expected either, becuase Holland played a blinder.

The only "punching" incident (more handbags-at-dawn really) was in the second half when at a breakdown a Munster player on the floor (don't know who, too far away to see) was illegally holidng back Richard Birkett, who took a couple of swings at the offending arm. Stupidity by both players really, the Munster guy for hanging on, Birkett for retaliating, but it had no material effect on the game and the ref just ignored it (if, indeed, he ever even saw it).

Anyway, got my ticket for the Final in the post yesterday - the fact it's the day before the start of my University Finals didn't deter me at all!!

Robert Burns
20-05-04, 11:05
good man, have a good day, I'm on the second part of our society course that day, so hopefully be finished in time to see it.

20-05-04, 15:05
Anyway, I didn't start this thread to open a debate about Wasps' tactics, but rather to celebrate the spirit of rugby. If I'd gone to a fussball match and been outnumbered 15 or 20 to 1 by opposition supporters, do you think I'd have felt safe?

Robert Burns
20-05-04, 16:05
That many people around the table?

(isn't Fussball table football? :confused: )

but you are right, it's fantastic that the fans are together, reminds me of the lone Sale fan in the shed at the Gloucester - Sale game, thats what makes rugby excellent, and it's good to see that a few football clubs are heading back to those days (i.e. fans have realised how much better it makes the game), but no where near enough of them.

20-05-04, 17:05
[QUOTE=Robert Burns]

(isn't Fussball table football? :confused: )


No, that's fu:Bball (sorry, don't know how to put the characters in, that should be f, u-umlaut, estzet, b,a,l,l). Or foosball.

To explain:

Fussball is sort of like rugby football, only the ball is round, you're not
allowed to pick it up or tackle people properly, there are no scrums, rucks mauls, line-outs, or in fact anything of interest except for some running around, and if an opponent makes any sort of physical contact with you (or indeed, the air turbulence caused by his running is too strong), correct etiquette is to fall over screaming, clutching a randomly chosen part of the body, and make as much FUSS as possible, hence the sport's name. Also, there are no uprights on the posts, and in order to score, you must get the ball UNDER the crossbar. Stupid sport, really. It'll never catch on. :D

Hope this makes things clearer... ;)

Red Munster
31-05-04, 11:05
I haven't seen the video of the match yet but I didn't think ROG was targeted illegally. He may have been targeted - nothing wrong with that.

Wasps are very quick off the mark and are right on the offside line when they rush forward from defence. They are masters at this and their backs coach must be complimented. They also have a great pack and particularly a very good back row. It will be hard for them to replace Volley.

The one thing that I noticed in that game was that every time Munster got within 15-20 metres of the Wasps line, Wasps gave away a penalty. As Dallaglio said after the HC final when talking about his sin bin "..better to give away 3 points than 7". This sort of tactic is perfectly legal and they used it to perfection but I thought Hendo suffered the consequences of this when he was binned later. I think Munster only conceded 7 penalties in the whole game - 2 of those were sin bins. From an assessor's point of view, you would have to question that. I think it was because of Wasp's cynicism that the ref ran out of patience and sin binned Hendo in consequence. After that Wasps scored 2 tries. We also had ROG off the pitch and our talisman David Wallace didn't start so I think to write Munster off next year is a bit premature.

Congrats to Wasps on doing the double but I hope that players' don't follow their sometimes cynical tactics and I hope referees try to counter this sort of behaviour early and ruthlessly (unlike Rolland in the final) if we want to see good clean games.

01-06-04, 08:06
FYI Wasps' defensive coach is Shaun Edwards, ex-Rugby league for Wigan and GB.


Robert Burns
01-06-04, 16:06
Does this warrant that idea for a new law then where if you give away a penalty, no matter what the outcome of the kick at goal (3 points or miss but ball out of play) if returns to the same spot to restrat play with a scrum to the non offending team?

02-06-04, 13:06
this was the subject of a letter I wrote to the RFU several years ago now, on behalf of several like minded fans (it came to nothing of course except a nice letter discussing penalty point differentials in the Cmbridge University laws laboratory which didn;t really have anything to do with the idea raised!).

We suggested exactly this - a scrum to the non-offenders following a penalty kick 9at goal) thus not relievcing the pressure.

However, we included two major caveats :

1) The basic idea is to keep the game flowing - but it was feared that a carte blanche position of having a scrum feed would promote teams from having a pot shot from just about anywhere on the pitch which could only slow the game down. Thus we added the rider that the scrum was only awarded for a successful kick, to prevent wasting time at fruitless kicks.

2) As rugby is fundamentally a flowing game with the concept of the ball is alive until made dead by a transgression or leaving the playing area, awarding a scrum for a missed kick that falls within the field of play went against the grain of the genral flow of the game, so play could continue. (It also further supports the situation in 1).

In short such scrums are only awarded for successful goal attempts.

Even with the above riders I still expect such a law would lead to more penalty kicks at goal, eschewing possibly the kick-and-lineout options.

What it wouldn't address of course is the killing of the ball etc when well out of range anyway (eg in the opponents half). Perhaps another amendment could be to for the non-offenders to kick to touch and have the choice of a lineout, scrum or tap-only-kick at the line of touch (15m in for the latter two) - I suspect this might be felt to be too like rugby league however.

Maybe such "penalty scrums" cold also be full pushing - but no striking for the ball by the offending team? To "guarantee" the ball? (Not fully sure about this one).