Harlequins wing Ugo Monye is hoping to turn Sunday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final into another showcase occasion for him to convince Warren Gatland he is worth a second tour with the British & Irish Lions.
The man who sped away for a vital interception try in the record equalling defeat of the world champion Springboks in Johannesburg four years ago may be on the fringes of the current England set-up, but he intends to prove in the heat of a European battle that he has still got what it takes.
Gatland, who will name his tour party for Hong Kong and Australia on 30 April, will be at the Twickenham Stoop to see the reigning English champions take on mighty Munster at the weekend. He also hopes to see Ireland wing Simon Zebo back in the Munster starting line-up after nine weeks on the sidelines.
“Of course I still think there’s a chance of me going on the Lions tour. That’s my motivations each and every week,” explained Monye.
“You aren’t being ambitious if that thought isn’t in the back of your head. The Lions tour in 2009 was the best thing I have done in my entire life – I’d be pretty hard pushed to replicate the emotions I had in that Third Test.
“I spoke to some of the elder statesmen then, like Brian O’Driscoll, and they said that was the best tour they had ever done as well. Which players did I learn from on that tour?
“Well Ronan O’Gara is one of the players I respect more than anyone. He is so honest and will put his hand up when he has a bad game.
“He works hard, is incredibly professional and as a winger if you’re not on your game he will make you look stupid. I’m excited about the challenge of locking horns with him in the Heineken Cup. He’s an exceptional player, but he’s one of many in that Munster team.”