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Heineken Cup final: Leicester 9-25 Wasps
Twickenham, 19 May, 2007



By Rob Hodgetts

Wasps celebrate beating Leicester to win the Heineken Cup
Wasps have won the Heineken Cup twice in four years
Leicester (9) 9
Pens: Goode (3)

Wasps (13) 25
Tries: Reddan, Ibanez
Pens: King (4)
Drops: King

Wasps pulled off a stunning victory against Premiership champions Leicester to win the Heineken Cup at Twickenham.

The unfancied Londoners, champions in 2004, out-thought and outmuscled the Treble-chasing Tigers in front of a record crowd for a club game of 81,076.

Wasps scored first-half tries from scrum-half Eoin Reddan and hooker Raphael Ibanez and Alex King kept the scoreboard ticking after the break.

Leicester were a shadow of the side who also won the EDF Energy Cup this term.

Leicester are a great team and we feel very proud to have beaten them on the biggest stage of all

Wasps captain Lawrence Dallaglio

"Everyone was talking about the Leicester guys - they've had a fantastic season but when you're underdogs it pumps you up," said Wasps skipper Lawrence Dallaglio.

"Everyone, man-to-man was outstanding. Leicester are a great team and we feel very proud to have beaten them on the biggest stage of all."

Leicester coach Pat Howard, who is leaving to return to Australia, said: "To do the Treble is an amazing thing and you have to turn up a lot of times. We let ourselves down today but I'm immensely proud of my association with this club."

Wasps, who were humbled by Leicester three weeks ago in their last competitive match, have now won their last six finals at Twickenham, including a Premiership final victory over the Tigers two years ago.

The attendance surpassed the 79,741 who watched Stade Francais against Toulouse in Paris in January.

606: DEBATE

From the kick-off, Wasps swarmed over the Tigers with surprising intensity, bossing the breakdown, ferocious in their tackling and forcing Leicester into a host of uncharacteristic errors.

The Tigers, back-to-back European champions in 2001 and 2002, were rattled and showed none of the composure or the clinical approach they demonstrated in demolishing Gloucester in the Guinness Premiership final last week.

King and opposite number Andy Goode traded early penalties but Wasps stunned the Tigers in the ninth minute when Reddan took a short, low pass at the front of the line-out from Ibanez and scampered over in the left corner.

King missed the conversion and Wasps squandered some of the advantage when Fraser Waters deliberately blocked Lewis Moody from the kick-off, handing back three points to Goode.

Wasps' Raphael Ibanez scores his side's second try in the Heineken Cup final
Ibanez scored Wasps' second try in the Heineken Cup final

The tension simmered just below the surface and sporadic scuffles broke out, with former England captains Martin Corry and Phil Vickery trading blows and ex-international team-mates Dallaglio and Julian White also squaring up.

Wasps took on Leicester up front, with young prop Tom French impressing against England tight-head White despite spending much of the season on-loan at Henley.

They were also able to snuff out the threat from Leicester's giant wingers Alesana Tuilagi and Seru Rabeni, who ran Gloucester ragged.

But Wasps had a gameplan to go with their physicality and they conjured up almost a carbon copy of Reddan's try, this time in the right corner, when hooker Ibanez threw short to Simon Shaw and took a quick return ball to dive over.

King missed the conversion from the touchline and Tigers closed the gap shortly before the break with a third Goode penalty, but the league champions went in scratching their heads 9-13 down.

Both kickers landed penalties after the break but despite some renewed vigour from the Tigers, Wasps nudged the score along with another King penalty and a drop-goal.

Wasps took off their 34-year-old talisman Dallaglio on 50 minutes but his replacement James Haskell helped keep out a series of close-range Leicester scrums with 20 minutes left.

And it was Haskell who almost scored the game-clinching try inside the last 10 minutes when he raced 60m unopposed down the right flank.

But Wasps won a penalty from the ensuing melee and the left-footed King stroked it over to seal the victory.


Leicester: Geordan Murphy; Seru Rabeni, Danny Hipkiss, Daryl Gibson, Alesana Tuilagi; Andy Goode, Frank Murphy; Marcos Ayerza, George Chuter, Julian White, Louis Deacon, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody, Shane Jennings, Martin Corry (c).
Replacements: James Buckland, Alex Moreno, Leo Cullen, Brett Deacon, Ian Humphreys, Sam Vesty, Ollie Smith.

Wasps: Danny Cipriani; Paul Sackey, Fraser Waters, Josh Lewsey, Tom Voyce; Alex King, Eoin Reddan; Tom French, Raphael Ibanez, Phil Vickery, Simon Shaw, Tom Palmer, Joe Worsley, Tom Rees, Lawrence Dallaglio (c).
Replacements: Joe Ward, Peter Bracken, Dan Leo, James Haskell, Mark McMillan, Dominic Waldouck, Mark Van Gisbergen.

Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)

SEE ALSO
Leicester-Wasps as it happened
20 May 07 |  Rugby Union
King acclaims 'best ever' Wasps
20 May 07 |  London Wasps
Howard proud despite Cup defeat
20 May 07 |  Leicester
Heineken Cup final photos
20 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Twickers verdict
20 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup future is resolved
20 May 07 |  Rugby Union


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