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Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 07:48 UK

Wasps to sting Cardiff Blues - Lawrence Dallaglio

AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP SEMI-FINALS
Venue: Adams Park Date: Saturday, 1 May Kick-off: 1800 BST
Coverage: Live audio on BBC Radio Wales, Radio Cymru & online, score updates on BBC Sport website


Sweeney eyes second crack at Cup

Ex-England and Wasps captain Lawrence Dallaglio says home advantage will be crucial in Saturday's Wasps-Blues Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final at Adams Park.

"The Blues are not to be discounted, they are very strong, but you would fancy Wasps," said the ex-back-rower.

"It's an opportunity for Paul Sackey and Danny Cipriani to leave the club at the end of the season with a trophy.

"Adams Park is not an easy place to come, there haven't been many European matches lost there."

Dallaglio, who won both the Heineken Cup and the Parker Pen Challenge Cup - the former name of the Amlin - in his time at Wasps, is wary of the Welsh team following their quarter-final destruction of Newcastle.

606: DEBATE

"The Blues have a side that they have shown is capable of going away and not just winning but taking a team apart," said the 2003 World Cup winner.

"They are full of quality players and have shown their calibre as a Heineken Cup team."

Blues number eight Xavier Rush is under no illusions about the size of the task awaiting his side.

"Obviously playing them up on their patch they are going to be right up for it," said the New Zealander.

Lawrence Dallaglio in action for Wasps against the Blues
Lawrence Dallaglio in action for Wasps against Cardiff Blues

"They've had a mixed season, like ourselves [but] they are showing good form at home.

"It's a semi-final of a pretty major competition so we've got a tough game on our hands."

While the Blues entered at the quarter-final stage of the competition after failing to make the Heineken Cup knock-outs, Wasps have been in the Amlin from the start of the season.

"The inclusion of the Heineken Cup sides certainly adds a bit of spice to the tournament," said Dallaglio's long-serving and still active Wasps, England and British and Irish Lions team-mate Simon Shaw.

"By dropping those sides down and having the best of the Amlin Challenge Cup teams, you have effectively got the calibre of the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

We played them a couple of years ago and the players were coming off left, right and centre with bangs and bruises

Wasps lock Simon Shaw

"Any European match adds a bit of extra spice but England versus Wales doesn't necessarily come into it for me. You just want to play European rugby at the highest level."

The 37-year-old veteran lock added: "I have always loved playing in European competition, even if it's playing Bucharest away for Bristol - European fixtures are fantastic and I love them all.

"As you get to my stage in rugby, you treasure European games and big away trips more than anything because you think that it could be the last one.

"Cardiff Blues will be disappointed that they got knocked out of the Heineken Cup at the group stages and they'll want to prove a point by coming down to our place and showing that they're more deserving than we are of being in this position.

"Both sides are playing some great attacking rugby at the moment and we know they have got class players throughout their side. They are a fantastic team.

"There are the guys who went on the Lions tour and also a couple of Kiwis such as Xavier Rush, who is a fantastic ball carrier.

"We played them a couple of years ago and the players were coming off left, right and centre with bangs and bruises, so you always know it's going to be a physical battle.

"At the same time, there's been a bit of running rugby going on so I think it will be a tremendous encounter."

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see also
Wasps 15-18 Cardiff Blues
01 May 10 |  Rugby Union
Blues unfazed by Edwards factor
27 Apr 10 |  Cardiff Blues
Young welcomes Wasps semi-final
11 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Newcastle 20-55 Blues
11 Apr 10 |  Rugby Union
Wasps 42-26 Gloucester
11 Apr 10 |  English
European rugby archive
16 Aug 06 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup 2009/10
21 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Scrum V's Welsh rugby webguide
14 Aug 07 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Rugby Union commentaries
09 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union


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