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Page last updated at 14:42 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 15:42 UK

Monye eyes final Test redemption

Third Test - South Africa v British and Irish Lions
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg Date: Saturday 4 July Start: 1400 BST
Coverage: Live on Sky Sports, 5 Live and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Lions wing Ugo Monye came agonisingly close to scoring in the second half
Lions wing Ugo Monye came agonisingly close to scoring in the first Test

By Bryn Palmer
BBC Sport in Johannesburg

Ugo Monye has vowed to prove his try-scoring instincts remain intact and help the Lions to a face-saving third Test victory against South Africa.

The England winger was dropped from the side after missing two clear-cut chances in the 26-21 first Test defeat.

"I still believe I have a good natural instinct to score tries; it is probably my biggest asset," he said.

"I know that given opportunities, the disappointment I felt will drive me on to make sure I take them this time."

With four tries in the warm-up matches, Monye is the joint leading try-scorer on the 2009 tour alongside Tommy Bowe.

But his pride at being selected for the first Test swiftly turned to anguish at the two tries that went begging in the tourists' defeat in Durban.


"Sport takes you to the greatest peaks and drags you down into the darkest troughs," said the 26-year-old Harlequins flyer.

"Getting picked for the first Test was the proudest moment of my life but I was absolutely gutted afterwards, not just to lose it but contributing to that as well.

"You do wonder if you will get another opportunity with the other great wingers out here but I am very fortunate. I have another chance and I am looking to grab it with both hands. I am certainly not doubting myself."

When the final analysis is done on the reasons the Lions narrowly lost, rather than won, the first two Tests, Monye's contribution is bound to be highlighted.

Eight minutes into the first Test, with the Lions 7-0 down, he went over in the left corner only for the television match official to finally rule he had not grounded the ball, with Springboks centre Jean de Villiers getting his hand under it.

"I am not sure you will ever see a tackle like that again," Monye said. "I was six inches from the ground, God knows how he got his arm under the ball, it is just beyond me."

When the Lions staged a stirring last-quarter fightback, Monye again seemed destined to score with eight minutes left, only for Morne Steyn to knock the ball out of his grasp over the line.

Ugo Monye
Monye crossed twice in the 74-10 win over the Golden Lions on 3 June

"To be perfectly honest I didn't see Steyn coming out of my blind spot, which was disappointing," he noted. "I have just got to have a bit more respect for the ball.

"It was really frustrating but you have to credit the guys who made the tackles.

"I have been the one who has done that before this season [for England on Thom Evans in the Six Nations match with Scotland, and for Harlequins on Brian O'Driscoll in a Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster at The Stoop].

"I know how happy I was as a defender to stop those tries, but as an attacker, you are desperate to score them. That is the winger's job. I had a couple of opportunities I didn't take but fortunately I have got another opportunity to put things right."

Monye admits being omitted altogether from the 22 for last week's second Test in Pretoria "was a tough pill to swallow".

But with Bowe moving to centre in the wake of injuries to O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts, he has been recalled on the right wing for the final Test at Ellis Park, where the Lions succumbed 35-16 on their last tour in 1997, having already won the series.

This time the roles are reversed, but Monye - one of six Englishmen in the starting line-up - insists Saturday's clash between two much-changed teams is far from a 'dead rubbber'.

"There has been a lot of heartache over the last couple of weeks in the manner we have lost the two Tests but there is still a lot to play for," he added.

Martyn Williams column
Martyn Williams

"Motivation is not difficult to find for this game. Training has been good this week and every time you put on that Lions jersey you want to give a great account of yourself and this week is no different.

"The series is gone and we are gutted about that but it is still a Lions Test against South Africa and it would be great to give our fantastic supporters something to cheer about.

"We have got massive belief and trust in our system and if we continue to do that, and hopefully get a few breaks going our way, we will definitely be there or thereabouts."

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see also
Lions Test debuts for English duo
02 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
Martyn's delight at Lions start
02 Jul 09 |  Welsh
Lions wing Williams out to dazzle
03 Jul 09 |  Welsh
Boks revamp team for final Test
02 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 28-25 Lions
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 26-21 Lions
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Monye amazed by Lions call-up
24 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions squad selector
07 May 09 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union

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