Wasps' flying wing Paul SackeyLawrence Dallaglio and London Wasps have had more than their fair share of critics this season.

The London side set such high standards in the Warren Gatland era that comparison and criticism this year was inevitable. However Ian McGeechan’s young guns are showing Europe they will not stand in the shadows of the squad that won the Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup and Zurich Premiership twice.

The Heineken champions of 2004 answered them by winning five of their six Pool matches scoring 23 tries in the process.

They showed they are not a side to be underestimated in the Pool Stages by completing the double over Castres Olympique and Benetton Treviso, but a perfect Pool record was spoiled by a narrow defeat in Perpignan in Round 2.

Leinster have a different problem – the weight of expectation.

With an embarrassment of riches in the backs and a free running style encouraged by Australian coach Michael Cheika, Leinster have the ability to tear apart any team in world rugby – and they frequently have.

But so often in the past promising Heineken Campaigns have been cut short with a poor performance in the knockout stages, and the Dubliner’s vow to return next season bigger, stronger and faster.

This year’s banana skin is a trip to High Wycombe and a date with London Wasps. By any standards this is a tough and highly losable match.

“Wasps have some massive individuals who can do a lot for their side, it shows why they are former champions just three years ago,” said Leinster full back Rob Kearney.
“We are very lucky to have an enormous amount of leaders in our team, but it will be a huge occasion for us and probably won’t be something we have to pick up the level of focus.”

It is the first time these two famous sides have met in the Heineken Cup, who will book their place in the final four and a date with either Biarritz or Northampton.

Leinster’s squad for this match includes 12 current Ireland internationals – Gordon D’Arcy, Girvan Dempsey, Guy Easterby, Luke Fitzgerald, Keith Gleeson, Jamie Heaslip, Denis Hickie, Trevor Hogan, Shane Horgan, Bernard Jackman, Kieran Lewis and Malcolm O’Kelly – who are all named in the 25-man squad alongside Argentina international out-half Felipe Contepomi who has accumulated 63 points to date in this year’s competition.

They will be joined by Australian international duo Owen Finegan and Chris Whitaker as well as prop Will Green, a member of Wasps’ 2004 Heineken Cup winning side.

In total there are three additions to the squad that defeated Connacht 30-21 last weekend with Fitzgerald joining Reggie Corrigan and Devin Toner in the panel.

The team will be named at lunchtime on Friday prior to the squad’s departure to London. In excess of 3,000 Leinster supporters are expected to make the trip to High Wycombe on Saturday.

Leinster squad: FORWARDS: Fosi Pala’amo, Stanley Wright, Reggie Corrigan, Will Green, Bernard Jackman, Brian Blaney, Malcolm O’Kelly, Trevor Hogan, Owen Finegan, Cameron Jowitt, Devin Toner, Keith Gleeson, Stephen Keogh, Jamie Heaslip

BACKS: Chris Whitaker, Guy Easterby, Christian Warner, Felipe Contepomi, Kieran Lewis, Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Kearney, Gordon D’Arcy, Shane Horgan, Denis Hickie, Girvan Dempsey