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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Howley tips Wasps for Euro title
By Matt Majendie

Rob Howley
Howley clinched the Cup for Wasps
Wasps' Heineken Cup hero Rob Howley has backed his team to successfully defend their European crown this season.

The former Wales scrum-half scored a bizarre last-ditch try in May's Heineken Cup final against Toulouse to seal a European domestic double.

And Howley, who could miss the whole tournament because of a wrist injury, told BBC Sport: "Our aim is just to go out and win everything.

"It's a massive ask to win it again but we think we can do it."

Wasps had looked on course to miss out on European glory last season when Toulouse levelled at 20-20 in the dying minutes of the final.

But France full-back Clement Poitrenaud failed to gather a late Howley kick and the Wasps scrum-half pounced for the try and an unlikely win.

A few people have been calling us the Arsenal of rugby but that's not right
Rob Howley

Wasps go into their opening match at home to Biarritz missing a raft of big-name internationals to injury.

Howley, though, warned: "We will be a very difficult side to beat when we're back to full strength. That's not arrogance - in fact there are no egos here.

"We just think we have the ability to beat any side on any given day."

The 34-year-old, who was capped 59 times at international level - 22 as captain, said it was premature to talk of his team as the "Arsenal of rugby".

"A few people have been saying that," he said, "but that's not right. What they have achieved is nearly a miracle.

"If we can keep on doing what we are now and the likes of our players all come back, then obviously we have competition in the squad which will show week in, week out. If we even manage a third of their winning streak, we'd be delighted."

Wasps have been heavily tipped to emulate Leicester's previous achievement of successfully defending their European crown.

And Howley admitted his team-mates had talked about repeating the Tigers' feat.

But he added: "Obviously every team is trying doubly hard to beat us as European champions. We'll just have to raise our standards even higher to achieve that."

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