Simon Shaw is used to being referred to as one of the ‘senior citizens’ of European rugby, but the 37-year-old England and British & Irish Lions lock is showing no signs of slowing down at London Wasps.
In fact, he is hoping to stay out in front of the race for Euro honours by picking up a fourth title next month. Already an Amlin Challenge Cup (2003) and Heineken Cup (2004 and 2007) winner with London Wasps, he is one step away from a fourth final.
He shares the honour of having won three titles with Wasps team-mates Lawrence Dallaglio, Mark van Gisbergen, Alex King, Josh Lewsey, Fraser Waters and Joe Worsley. Two of them are still active at the club, van Gisbergen and Worsley, and will be hoping to join Shaw in helping their side overcome Cardiff Blues in the semi-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup at Adams Park on Saturday, 1 May, to reach a fourth final.
If Shaw plays against the Blues he will extend his Wasps record of European appearances to 69 and will make his 73rd appearance in the two tournaments since making his debut for Bristol Shoguns against Treorchy in the inaugural Challenge Cup competition on 12 October, 1996.
Bristol won that game 53-5 and Shaw wasn’t the only member of that team to go on and claim European honours. The Bristol captain Mark Regan was a Heineken Cup winner with Bath in 1998, Mark Denney joined Shaw in the Wasps 22 that won the Heineken Cup in 2004 and Paul Burke was an Amlin Challenge Cup winner with Harlequins in 2001 and 2004.
Only two other players are the proud owners of three ERC winners’ medals. Toulouse wing Cedric Heymans is the only player to have pocketed three Heineken Cup winners’ medals, with Brive in 1997 and Toulouse in 2003 and 2005.
One of his Toulouse team-mates, hooker Yannick Bru, also holds three winners’ medals from 2003 and 2005, while he also helped Colomiers win the Amlin Challenge Cup in 1998.
Heymans was an unused replacement in 1997 and 2003 and played a mere 36 minutes in 2005. He also played in the Toulouse teams that lost the 2004 and 2008 Heineken Cup finals and in the Agen side that were beaten by Colomiers in the 1998 Amlin Challenge Cup final.