Wasps face must-win game

Wasps face a crucial Heineken Cup clash against Edinburgh tomorrow – and head coach Shaun Edwards admits losing is not an option.

Wasps face a crucial Heineken Cup clash against Edinburgh tomorrow – and head coach Shaun Edwards admits losing is not an option.

The 2007 European champions will close a current seven-point gap on Pool Two leaders Leinster if they see off Andy Robinson’s men at Adams Park.

Leinster’s narrow loss to Castres last night sets up an intriguing showdown with Wasps next month, but the Londoners know they must remain in contention by completing a quickfire double over Edinburgh.

Wasps triumphed 25-16 at Murrayfield last Friday, although they have lost fly-half playmaker Danny Cipriani from their starting line-up this time around because of a stomach bug.

Edwards said: “We can’t afford to lose another game in the Heineken Cup if we want to have any chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

“We are very, very cautious of the Edinburgh team. They won at Castres in their last away game, so this is another massive game for us.

“You can see the reason why they won in Castres.

“They are a very well-coached team. They’ve got some potent attacking threats - they are a team to be reckoned with and respected.”

Edinburgh will be without injured full-back Chris Paterson and suspended flanker Ross Rennie for the trip south.

Rennie collected a two-week ban following a dangerous tackle on Wasps’ England wing Paul Sackey eight days ago.

Former England head coach Robinson said: “Naturally, I am very disappointed with the decision regarding Ross.

“Anyone who knows him will testify he is a competitive player, but not a reckless one.

“There will be no better place to respond to last week than at the home of the English champions.

“Everyone has seen what Edinburgh can achieve when we get it right, and the team realise they need to rise to the occasion on Sunday.”

Glasgow will also look to dent the Heineken Cup hopes of a crack English club when they host Pool Five opponents Bath at Firhill tomorrow.

The Warriors outscored Bath 5-4 on tries last weekend – but lost an enthralling tussle 35-31 – while the west country side are strengthened this time around by wing Joe Maddock and lock Danny Grewcock both returning after injuries.

“We know there were parts of the game last Sunday where we let ourselves down,” said Bath defence coach Brad Davis.

“We know we are better than how we performed out on the pitch, and the great thing is we are playing the same team seven days later and have the opportunity to put things right.”

Pool Three leaders Leicester, meanwhile, head to Perpignan tomorrow with head coach Heyneke Meyer adamant the Tigers must concentrate on themselves – not a side-show created by New Zealand superstar Dan Carter’s debut for the French club.

Meyer said: “There will be a lot of hype around Carter, because he’s a world-class player, but in every single game in this tough tournament you face world-class players.

“For me, it is not about one player; it is about playing against a team and focusing on what we’re going to do well.

“It will be a different situation, and there are things that we need to work on. But there will be a lot of pressure on them to play well.

“For me, as a coach, I think my strength is that I don’t get sucked into those kinds of things.

“It is just another game that we need to go out there and win. It will be tough. But it’s a challenge, and we are looking forward to that challenge.”

Leicester recorded a bonus-point victory over Perpignan at Welford Road last Saturday, and Meyer has retained the same starting line-up – with Tigers fly-half Toby Flood opposing Carter, as he did for England against New Zealand two weeks ago.

In the second-tier European Challenge Cup tomorrow, three Premiership clubs - Northampton, Saracens and Newcastle – will remain on a quarter-final course if they defeat respective opponents Bristol, Bayonne and Overmach Parma.

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