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banner Friday, 6 July, 2001, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Dawson: I'm proud to be a Lion
Matt Dawson delights in the Lions win over ACT Brumbies
Dawson clutches his shirt after the mid-week win
Matt Dawson has pledged his commitment to the Lions, as he prepares for the crucial second Test against Australia on Saturday.

The England scum-half was nearly thrown off the tour following his infamous diary piece in a national newspaper, which criticised aspects of the Lions management.

But he told BBC Sport Online that the furore had made him more determined than ever.

"All the players feel very honoured to be in the position we are," the 28-year-old said in a question and answer forum with Sport Online users.


It does mean everything to play for the Lions.
  Matt Dawson
"As far as honour goes, nothing comes close."

With the Lions 1-0 up in the three-match series, Dawson starts the second Test in Melbourne on the bench.

He has been confirmed as back-up kicker, after a match-winning injury-time conversion against the ACT Brumbies on Tuesday, which illicited an emotional reaction.

He embraced the Lions badge on his shirt and faced the Lions supporters in triumph.

"It was just really to show that it does mean everything to play for the Lions and that will be a special moment in my rugby career," he explained.

However the Northampton player is not under-playing the importance of playing for England.

Dawson regrets mis-timed remarks
Dawson regrets mis-timed remarks
"In pure rugby terms, I'd still say playing for England is the ultimate rugby accolade," he said.

Among the critics of Dawson's decision to speak out in his controversial Daily Telegraph article was England coach Clive Woodward.

Woodward was unimpressed by the timing of Dawson's comments. He said at the time: "This is a serious matter and I'm sure Matt is feeling stupid right now."

Despite his coach's critical words, Dawson is refusing to become preoccupied with his England futue.

The scrum-half is instead focusing on beating the Australians.

"I shall wait and see," he said, when asked whether he was feared for his England place, "it's not something I'm thinking about now.

"I've got more important things to think about with the Test series."

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