BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Rugby Union: European  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Statistics
International
European
English
Celtic
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Friday, 24 May, 2002, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Prepare for a great final
Matt Dawson

Munster have not had the ideal preparation for this game with several players, including Rob Henderson and Paul O'Connell, struggling with injuries.

It's a very difficult time in the season, and all the players have had a long, tough campaign.

But I don't think it will be a huge problem for the Irish.

Whoever pulls on the Munster shirt will be motivated and will give their all for the team, you can be sure of that.

All the players recognise the enormity of the game and it's a very special game for Munster - their second final in three seasons.

They will be watching videos and studying their loss to Northampton in the final two seasons ago.

All the players will play to the best of their ability and the team will be concentrating on who is playing.

Leicester's preparations haven't been ideal either.

The Tigers slumped to their first home defeat in over four years last weekend against Bristol.

But the loss will give them a kick up the backside, if they needed one.

Leicester lift the 2001 Heineken Cup
Leicester are the Heineken Cup holders
There's no question that they'll be focused and they won't let that defeat affect their preparations. Leicester are too experienced for that to worry them.

The atmosphere in the Millennium Stadium will be fantastic.

It's a sell-out crowd and there will be more fans there than were at the FA Cup final - that shows how big a game this is.

Both sets of players will be nervous and edgy before the game as they know there is a lot at stake.

But it will also be an uplifting experience.

Rough and tough

Both teams have fantastic support and passionate fans, and the atmosphere will be superb before, during and after the game.

If I had to stick my neck out and pick a winner I'd go for Leicester.

They certainly have the big match players.


Rugby fans know they are in for a great match
Matt Dawson
But Munster have almost made this European trophy their own over the last few years with some fantastic performances, even though they haven't won it.

It will be a rough and tough, high-momentum match, and both sides thrive on going forward.

Neither are great counter-attacking teams - they like to get into a rhythm and grind the other side down.

The game will be won by the team that finds its rhythm early on, but whoever ends up lifting the trophy, it will be a tight game.

Rugby fans know they are in for a great match.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Ian Robertson
"It will be a highly charged occasion"

Heineken Cup final

Matt Dawson

Parker-Pen final

SPORTS TALK

EUROPEAN STATISTICS
Links to more European stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more European stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales