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Best of enemies - Leicester v Wasps

GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP FINAL
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 31 May Kick-off: 1500 BST
Coverage: Live on Sky Sports 1, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Leicester, BBC London and BBC Sport website


Lawrence Dallaglio and Martin Corry
Wasps captain Lawrence Dallaglio and Leicester skipper Martin Corry will go head-to-head one last time on Saturday

By Nabil Hassan

Wasps and Leicester renew one of the great rivalries in English rugby when they face each other in Saturday's Guinness Premiership final at Twickenham.

The match is the latest instalment between two of the powerhouses of club rugby who between them have dominated the domestic game in England over the past decade or so.

Saturday's game promises to be another high-octane game full of the physicality and intensity that fixtures between these two sides always seem to produce.

606: DEBATE
If the stakes were not high enough, both sides have their own sub-plots and an extra incentive for wanting to win.

In all reality Leicester coach Marcelo Loffreda probably needs a win to save his job after a season of relative under-achievement by the Tigers' high standards.

And Lawrence Dallaglio, one of the most decorated players in English history, will bring the curtain down on an 18-year Wasps career when he plays his final game before retirement.

Leicester, and in particular old foe Martin Corry, will be desperate to ruin Dallaglio's swansong while Wasps would love to heap more misery on the beleaguered Loffreda.

Here we recall six classic encounters between the sides ahead of Saturday's clash at Twickenham.

05/12/04 - HEINEKEN CUP - WASPS 31-37 LEICESTER

The first of two European Cup games produced a pulsating game of Test-match intensity at Adams Park and was one of the finest in Heineken Cup history.

Leicester stormed out of the blocks to lead 22-6, but a stunning Wasps comeback saw them draw level at 31-31 with five minutes left, only for Andy Goode to kick Tigers to victory.

"It was a massively intense game," recalls Wasps' Josh Lewsey. "I could've gone on for another 80 minutes, I had so much adrenaline left."

12/12/04 - HEINEKEN CUP - LEICESTER 35-27 WASPS

Deja vu for Wasps at Welford Road, as they were again forced to come back from an early deficit only for Goode's boot to keep them at bay.

Leicester led 19-0 early on and 29-13 at half-time but second-half tries from Wasps duo Joe Worsley and Will Green ensured another grandstand finish.

"In both games we gifted them soft scores in the first 20 minutes," Lewsey recalled. "You can't afford to do that against quality teams because you always have to play catch-up."

14/05/05 - PREMIERSHIP FINAL - LEICESTER 14-39 WASPS

Martin Johnson and Neil Back picked the perfect stage and the perfect opponents to play their final game of rugby before retirement.

Martin Johnson (right) congratulates winning skipper Lawrence Dallaglio
Johnson (right) did not have a fairytale end to his career
Sadly for Johnson and Back, they couldn't write the script for their final club game as Wasps spoiled their Twickenham leaving party in spectacular style.

Instead it was their departing director of rugby Warren Gatland who signed off with a third successive title, as Wasps dominated proceedings from the start.

They were 13-0 up in five minutes and made light of Back punching Joe Worsley at a line-out to totally out-play the Tigers, earning sweet revenge for their Heineken defeats earlier in the season.

04/03/06 - EDF SEMI-FINAL - WASPS 22-17 LEICESTER

Ayoola Erinle's late try proved enough to send Wasps into the EDF Cup final even though Leicester outscored their opponents by three tries to one.

Ironically Erinle only played because of a late change to the starting line-up after Mark van Gisbergen withdrew with a back injury. Wasps fly-half Jeremy Staunton took over the kicking duties and had a fine day with the boot, kicking five penalties and a conversion.

But his opposite number Goode had a poor day, missing two penalties and a conversion which ultimately proved to be the difference in a tight game.

19/05/07 - HEINEKEN CUP FINAL - LEICESTER 9-25 WASPS

In Pat Howard's last game as Leicester coach Wasps shattered the Tigers' hopes of winning the Treble with a classic victory in the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham.

Having won the Guinness Premiership and the EDF Cup, victory in the Heineken Cup would have been the perfect send-off for Howard.

Leicester were huge favourites but Wasps outfought and outmuscled their great rivals, with tries from Eoin Reddan and hooker Raphael Ibanez proving the difference.

"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 Dallaglio.

22/03/08 - EDF SEMI-FINAL - LEICESTER 34-24 WASPS

With all the talk before the game about man-of-the-moment Danny Cipriani, Leicester fly-half Goode produced a magical display to inspire his side to victory.

Goode scored 19 points including one try, two penalties and four conversions as Leicester breezed into the EDF Cup final against the Ospreys.

The game also produced an incident that could have brought an early retirement for Dallaglio when the flanker was cited for striking Leicester prop Julian White.

But Dallaglio escaped with only a one-week ban leaving him free for Wasps' run-in and one last crack at silverware.


Listen to Wasps v Leicester live on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Leicester, BBC London; and the BBC Sport website from 1500 BST on Saturday.


see also
Wasps 26-16 Leicester
31 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Guinness Premiership photos
31 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Corry focused on winning finale
30 May 08 |  Leicester
Johnson praises Dallaglio career
30 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Vickery given all clear for final
29 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Loffreda upbeat on Tigers future
28 May 08 |  Leicester
Leicester 34-24 Wasps
22 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 9-25 Wasps
20 May 07 |  Rugby Union
Wasps 22-17 Leicester
04 Mar 06 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 14-39 Wasps
14 May 05 |  English
Leicester 35-27 Wasps
12 Dec 04 |  European Club
Wasps 31-37 Leicester
05 Dec 04 |  European Club


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