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John Mitchell wants Wasps to take Munster rookies 'deep'

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

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Wasps are planning to pile on the agony for Munster who have endured the most disruptive build up to any match in their Heineken Cup history thanks to the impact of COVID-19 quarantine regulations.

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Munster’s abortive trip to South Africa forced them to register 22 players to their Champions Cup squad during the week, all of whom are under the age of 21 and have primarily played for their various clubs in the All-Ireland League this season as their normal starters have been isolating.

Wasps, who have struggled all season with injuries to key players, are in no mood to go easy on Munster who they still believe will pose a formidable challenge at the Coventry Building Society Arena and intend to try and expose match fitness issued caused by the quarantine.

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John Mitchell, the Wasps attack coach, is setting his team up to stretch Munster, like Wasps twice winners of the Cup, to the limit in the final quarter and makes no excuses for trying to exploit the current situation. Mitchell said: “If some of their guys haven’t played for six or seven weeks then it is up to us to take them as deep as we can in the game and make sure we are in the contest. We need to create the pressure that questions fitness in the last quarter.

“If we can definitely take them deep (in the game) there may be opportunities and it will ask questions of them. You focus on their DNA and where their heart comes from and energy. Clearly, they attack in a particular way and we have focussed on areas that we believe offer opportunities.

“Munster pride their whole year on European rugby and have huge history in the tournament and we are not fooled for a moment that they won’t be coming with a strong side full of internationals. They also have Cozzy (Ian Costello former Wasps defence coach) and I am sure he will have slipped in a bit of knowledge there. It will be a humdinger and full on and I don’t see how we can be favourites.

“To me, our injuries are an easy excuse at the end of the day and the challenge is to become cohesive as a team and young guys are getting opportunities. They rip into their work and fear nothing. Europe for us is very important and we have a rich history in this competition like Munster and we want to progress as far as we can. These knock out matches can go down to the wire.”

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