6 www.RUGBY TIMES.com
22 May 2009
Tigers want to avoid Rocky horror show
by NEALE HARVEY
“But make no mistake, we will be
HEINEKEN CUP FINAL... DID YOU KNOW?
going into the game as the underdogs.
Before the semi-finals everyone was a71 Leinster are the 14th team to contest a Heineken Cup final – in the 14th season of the
EICESTER TIGERS are out to
reclaim their crown as the best
saying whoever won the all-Irish semi-
tournament. The other Heineken Cup finalists are Toulouse (5), Leicester Tigers and
Munster (4), London Wasps, Stade Francais Paris, Brive (2), Cardiff RFC, Bath, Ulster,
team in Europe when they take
final would go on to win the final, so
on Irish challengers Leinster at
that has to be Leinster as the
Colomiers, Northampton Saints, Perpignan, Biarritz Olympique (1 each).
Leinster may be fancied, but as Dai
a71 Leicester Tigers have now matched Toulouse in qualifying for five tournament finals
But they know they must produce a
Young, head coached of vanquished
and also have the opportunity of joining Toulouse as triple title winners.
far better performance than the one
semi-finalists Cardiff said this week,
they did against London Irish a week
a71 Current Leicester Tigers players Marin Corry, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody and Geordan
who would bet against Leicester in their
ago if they are to claim the Heineken
Murphy have all appeared in three previous finals (2001, 2002 and 2007) and could
current defiant mood?
Cup for the first time since 2002.
now join the elite eight players to have appeared in four finals. The eight are Ronan
Young, who endured the heartache
How the Tigers managed to sneak
O’Gara, John Hayes, David Wallace (Munster) and Yannick Jauzion, William Servat,
of seeing his side defeated by Leicester
past the Exiles in last Saturday’s
Jean-Baptiste Poux, Fabien Pelous and Jean Bouilhou (Toulouse).
on penalties earlier this month, said: “It
Premiership Grand Final at
is a really tough call but I just have the
a71 This will be only the third Anglo-Irish final – with the score standing at 2-0 to the
Twickenham remains one of the
feeling Leicester Tigers will edge it. English clubs, Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers beating Munster 9-8 in 2000
mysteries of the age. It will certainly
“They always rise to the big and 15-9 in 2002 respectively.
haunt the Irish for many years to come,
occasion and have proved time and
such was their dominance for long
time again that they know how to win
a71 The all-Ireland semi-final between Munster and Leinster at Croke Park earlier this
spells of that game.
when the going gets tough.
month was watched by a world-record crowd for a club rugby match of 82,208.
But win it Leicester did, by the
“Leinster have the quality in their
narrowest of margins, and Richard
back line – world-class players like a
a71 The most points scored in a Heineken Cup final are the 64 rattled up at Parc des
Cockerill’s side now have every
5:00pm, revitalised Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon
Princes in 2001. The 34 scored that day by Leicester Tigers is the most scored by a
incentive to add a third domestic league
D’Arcy and Luke Fitzgerald – and it
team in a final and the 30 scored by Stade Francais Paris is the most scored by a losing
and European Cup ‘double’ to the ones
promises to be a fascinating contest of
they won back to back under Dean
Leinster’s runners against Leicester’s
Richards in 2001 and 2002.
elation of winning and the depression
a71 The most points scored by an individual in a final is the 30 kicked by Stade Francais
more dogged approach.
Full-back Geordan Murphy was
of losing. It really is a bitter pill to
Paris’ Diego Dominguez (nine penalty goals and a drop goal) in the 2001 defeat by
“However, no-one should bet
part of those great Leicester sides and
swallow when you don’t win and we
against Leicester. They are such a
he is desperate to add a third Heineken
will be doing everything we can to get
tenacious team, mentally and
Cup winner’s medal to his burgeoning
a71 Two of the 13 finals have failed to produce a try – when Ulster beat Colomiers 21-6
physically, and a really tough team to
personal collection of silverware.
in 1999 and when Toulouse needed extra time in the 2005 final to beat Stade Francais
“I have enjoyed some great
tame. As I said, they know how to win Paris 18-12.
“It is the premier European club
moments with some great Leicester
the tight games.”
competition and we would dearly love
teams but all that is in the past, it is all
Murphy would settle for another
HEINEKEN CUP HEAD-TO-HEAD...
to win it for a third time,” said Murphy,
done and dusted. When the time comes Season Stage Results
who produced a man-of-the-
10-9 victory and knowing the Leinster
I am sure I will look back on
1996/97 Pool Leinster 10 Leicester Tigers 27
match performance in the 10-
side as well as he does, he expects
those occasions with great
1997/98 Pool Leinster 16 Leicester Tigers 9; Leicester Tigers 47 Leinster 22
9 Grand Final victory over
another raw, full-on battle.
affection but at the moment
1999/00 Pool Leinster 27 Leicester Tigers 20; Leicester Tigers 10 Leinster 32
“While Leinster have always had a
they don’t mean a thing – it is
2001/02 Quarter-final Leicester Tigers 29 Leinster 18
“The Heineken Cup
world-class back line, now they also
2004/05 Quarter-final Leinster 13 Leicester Tigers 29
all about Saturday and
means a tremendous amount
have the forward power to maximize 2007/2008 Pool Leinster 22 Leicester Tigers 9; Leicester Tigers 25 Leinster 9
to this club – we have been
those strengths and flanker Rocky Elsom
“We want to reward our fans
TALE OF THE HEINEKEN CUP FINAL TAPE
there or thereabouts in most
has been possibly their stand-out player
who spend so much time and Leicester Tigers Leinster
tournaments – and we have a
this season, a truly tremendous signing.
money supporting us and the
ERC European Ranking 2 3
great relationship with the
“They have got strength across the
best way of doing that is to
ERC European Ranking Points 26 22
board and on top of all that, Leinster
win silverware and at
Heineken Cup Titles 2 0
“I have played in three
have never won the Heineken Cup and
Leicester we are completely
Heineken Cup Finals 4 0
Heineken Cup finals,
that will make them an extremely
Heineken Cup Matches 90 88
aware that you have to earn
winning two and losing one,
hungry side and give them the desire to Heineken Cup Wins 63 55
everything, you cannot take
so I know all about both the
beat us. But we will go and give it our Heineken Cup Tries 269 237
REFEREE: Nigel Owens
anything for granted.
Heineken Cup Head-to-Head Wins 5 4
by LIAM HEAGNEY
you’ve missed a massive opportunity
and that really hurts. It still kind of lives
with you as well. This is why you have
T’s a nightmare Shane Jennings
(left) has never quite forgotten.
to take your chances in these games
because there’s not that many times you
Two years ago he was an integral
can say you’re in a Heineken final.
part of the treble-chasing Leicester
“People said we were tired, we were
pack. Anglo-Welsh Cup and English
fatigued, but I don’t know what it was.
Premiership medals had already been
We were just second best. Wasps played
safely pocketed, and their winning
very well, played very cute. They
momentum suggested that Heineken
deserved their win.”
Cup silverware would duly follow
Although now long since back in
before he packed his bags that summer
Ireland, Jennings hasn’t entirely turned
and moved back home to Leinster.
his back on Leicester. He still regularly
But it didn’t work out that way.
travels over to friends and jests he will
Wasps obliterated the script that sunny
definitely drop by in the summer if the
May afternoon, blitzing Leicester in the
right result is secured in Scotland.
final with a sublime performance, and
With Leicester crowned
the only memento of any value which
Premiership champions last weekend,
Jennings took from Twickenham was a
the text messages have been flying in.
piece of crystal given by his club in
Dan Hipkiss, Sam Vesty and Martin
recognition of two impressive years of
Corry have each been at it to name just
service with the Welford Road outfit.
three, and exchanges were sure to
His loser’s medal meant nothing.
increase the nearer it gets to kick off.
Worse, he couldn’t privately grieve
Yet while there is an undeniable
about the loss. Jennings, along with
Leicester-Leinster alliance because of
fellow Tigers Leo Cullen and Geordan
Jennings and Cullen, it doesn’t
Murphy, had to be at Heathrow airport
necessarily follow that Tigers have
the following night for a flight to join up every respect for the opposition they
with the Ireland squad already in face in what is the twice cup-winning
Argentina for the end-of-season tour. club’s fifth European decider, a
With them in the departures lounge dominance wildly contrasting with
were Eoin Reddan and Peter Bracken, Leinster who have never before
two of the victorious Wasps. appeared in a final.
“It’s a pretty horrible experience,” “They probably think that we’re a
he says about the loss. “You know soft touch like everybody else in the
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