Ex-Wasps back row Paul Volley has described the most memorable game of his career – and it’s unfortunate legacy. The now 48-year-old was part of the Warren Gatland side that came to Dublin in April 2004 to ambush Munster at an old Lansdowne Road full of expectant Irish supporters.
Volley did his job in a back row that also featured England World Cup-winning duo Lawrence Dallaglio and Joe Worsley, helping Wasps to win the semi-final before going on to lift the Heineken European Cup with a victory over Toulouse in the Twickenham final.
However, the impact that the back row had in Dublin was never forgotten by one of Munster’s key players. Not only was the rivalry used to get the crowd on Volley’s back when he subsequently visited Thomond Park with Castres, the club he joined after exiting Wasps. The enmity continued for many years.
“I wasn’t the most creative player in the team, but I was the fittest and I prided myself on being first to breakdowns and running support lines to being ultra-aggressive in defence. My mission was to be opposition 10s life a misery,” explained Volley about his career in an interview with The Rugby Paper.
“The most memorable game was the Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster. All week we were talking about Ronan O’Gara and putting pressure on him.
“Myself and the rest of the back row were given the task of taking the ball down his channel and getting in this face time and again. When O’Gara left the field injured after 30 minutes my job was done.
“I later found out from the late, great Munsterman Anthony Foley, who I met up with on a legend Lions tour to Bermuda, was that Ronan hated me after all these years and (wrongfully) accused me of bad-mouthing his family!”
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