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Hanks focused on Dragons clash

Tony Hanks insists Wasps will not take their eye off the ball when they resume Heineken Cup action against Newport Gwent Dragons on Sunday.

Pool Six in this season's tournament appears to be hurtling towards a decider next month between Wasps and reigning European champions Toulouse. But Hanks knows his players cannot afford to be distracted by that intriguing possibility.

And rugby director Hanks said: "We are preparing for this game on its own merits. We are not concerning ourselves with games later in the pool stages. We are focused on what is in front of us now, and that is a strong Newport Gwent Dragons side."

He added: "The last four weekends do not mean anything (Wasps are unbeaten since November 6) unless we get the result on Sunday. Returning to the Heineken Cup, we are aware of the challenge ahead and have only one focus - to secure the result through a strong performance."

Only two points separate all four teams in Pool Three ahead of Sunday's games between London Irish and Toulon at the Madejski Stadium and Munster's Thomond Park appointment with the Ospreys.

"The group of death in the Heineken Cup is going to be an interesting one to watch over the next two weeks," said Irish head coach Toby Booth. "Things are standing pretty much equal with each team having won its first home game.

"Back on our home turf this weekend we will be looking to put in a repeat of our strong performance against Munster. We've trained hard this week, we are focused and all out to win."

Toulon, spearheaded by fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, include his fellow England international and former London Irish wing Paul Sackey, plus former Premiership forwards in Carl Hayman, Dean Schofield, Kris Chesney and Joe El Abd.

The Ospreys head to Limerick without injured Wales backs Lee Byrne and Shane Williams, but they can still parade internationals such as Tommy Bowe, James Hook, Mike Phillips and Ryan Jones, who starts at lock.

"The Heineken Cup is hugely important for us," said Ospreys coach Sean Holley. "But if you want to progress then you have to go to champion places like Munster and do well. It's not on just this game, but the double-header against Munster will be important."


From Belfast Telegraph