Wasps players are looking to create their own history by winning this year’s Heineken Cup, rather than looking back at the club’s triumph the last time the final was held at Twickenham…
Samoan flanker Dan Leo is one of the players who has joined the club since Rob Howley’s injury time try snatched the Cup away from Toulouse in 2004 and he says it is now a different team trying to achieve the same goal.
Having won in Castres to earn a home quarter-final against Leinster, he knows that if they can win that one they will be away in the semi-finals against either Biarritz or Northampton.
.. “We do not want to get ahead of ourselves, but we have been saying that we don’t want to be a team that is judged on things that have happened in the past,” said Leo.
“There are a lot of guys who have come into the team from the side which won three years ago, including me, and we want to be building a legacy of our own.
“There is only one way to do that and that is to win against Leinster and then forward into the future. We are not too worried about the past, We want to be doing something new.”
Biarritz are strong favourites to be the semi-final opponents as they have already beaten Northampton home and away in the pool stages. First though, Wasps need to see off the Irish challenge of Leinster who so famously won at Toulouse at the same stage of last season’s tournament.
“We fancy our chances at home, especially given our home and away record this year,” said Leo.
“We like to think we have turned a corner now so we are not disappointed about the semi-final draw. We have to get through Leinster first and we know that will be a massive game.
“Personally the last time I played those guys was for the Pacific Islands against Ireland and we got thrashed so I have got a point to prove against half of them as well.
“Collectively it gives us a massive advantage to be at home so we have to make the most of that.”
The manner of Gloucester’s victory over Leinster in the final pool game with the pack dominating has not gone unnoticed at Wasps.
“We have gone in with the mentality that rugby is a lot easier if the pack are controlling the set piece. We like to think we have got a pretty good back line as well with international quality throughout,” said Leo.
“We like to think that if we give our backs the quality ball they can match it with the best in the world, which Leinster definitely are.
“Then Biarritz away is a very daunting place to go, it definitely lifts them, but we have a big enough challenge with Leinster to be thinking that far ahead.
“If we are fortunate enough to get to the next stage then we will relish the challenge – that’s when great teams are made, you have to be good enough to go and win home and away”.