Shaw gets what he wants in the end

Simon Shaw says he knows what to expect when he goes into battle with Springbok lock Bakkies Botha in his own back yard at Loftus Versfeld in Saturday's vital second Test. [more]

Shaw gets what he wants in the end

Simon Shaw says he knows what to expect when he goes into battle with Springbok lock Bakkies Botha in his own back yard at Loftus Versfeld in Saturday’s vital second Test.

The London Wasps and England lock has finally earned a place in a Lions Test side after 12 years of trying and can’t wait to prove that even at three months short of his 36th birthday he has plenty to offer. 

“Bakkies is a class player and, as a pair, he and Victor Matfield are probably ranked as the best second row in the world at the moment. But at the same time I don’t really fear any of my opposite numbers,” said Shaw. 

“I played against them twice during the 2007 World Cup and it was tough. But I’ve looked back at tapes of those games and I think as a pack we more than matched the Springboks. 

“We got a lot of criticism for getting done over in the line-out, but I don’t think we lost the ball that in Paris. I’ve just got to go out there and do what I do best – that’s what I’ve been picked for and hopefully I can just do it better than Bakkies. 

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“In the first 40 minutes last week the Boks had an edge and I guess that’s why I’ve been brought in. I’m just going to bring to the game what I bring to most games. 

“They will be backing up on their defence and making the next game a whole lot harder for us.” 

Shaw first came to South Africa as a replacement on the England tour in 1994 and is currently on his third trip with the Lions. Saturday will be his 16th appearance in a Lions jersey – and the most special of the lot. 

“It’s been a long while. Mid way through the season I didn’t really think I had a chance of even making the plane,” he admitted.

“It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point. This tour didn’t really start that well for me and I then began to think I might go back empty handed again in terms of a Test cap.

“Over the years I’ve learnt you’ve just got to keep plugging away and keep trying. Then, hopefully, someone will see something positive in you and give you a chance.

“I think it’s just self belief. Your friends and your family will keep telling you that you’re the best but, at the end of the day, you have to believe it yourself. I just kept trying to believe it and now it’s finally happened.

“When the Test squads are announced it’s a pretty miserable time if you’re not selected. The day after you learn to justify it in your brain and accept it.
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“There are a lot of things that go through your head when you are sitting there watching the game, but ultimately we are all here for one reason – to beat the Boks. Whether I’d been selected this week or not I’d have offered my advice for the following week.”

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