Monye relishing Amlin final date
May 19, 2011
Ugo Monye has rediscovered some form in recent weeks © Getty Images
Harlequins wing Ugo Monye is relishing their Amlin Challenge Cup final date with Stade Francais on Friday - insisting that such occasions vindicate his decision to turn down a big money offer from French side Racing Metro to re-sign at the Stoop.
Victory would secure Harlequins their first piece of silverware since 2004 and a route back into the Heineken Cup, after they finished a disappointing seventh in the Aviva Premiership.
"I was seriously tempted to go to France but this is my ninth season at Harlequins and I felt my work here was not done. I stayed for moments like tomorrow," Monye said. "I have only won one major trophy and I didn't want to leave and look back in five years and think I'd had nine good years but I hadn't achieved that much.
"I knew the potential of the boys, I knew where this team was going and I wanted to be around. This is a real opportunity for us to do something special and it shows I made the right decision. Everyone is so excited. It doesn't feel like a long season when you have got a final to look forward to.
"It is a massive opportunity for us to get into the Heineken Cup for next season and, most importantly, to get a trophy in the cabinet."
Monye won his last England cap against Scotland in March 2010, before a loss of form and injury saw him slip out of Martin Johnson's 32-man senior squad. In his absence, Chris Ashton has established himself in the team with David Strettle playing the role of understudy during England's Six Nations campaign.
In the last few months Monye has begun to recapture the form that earned him two British & Irish Lions Test caps on the 2009 tour of South Africa and he believes that the final is the perfect stage on which to underline his credentials.
"I have been a little bit envious watching England and Chris Ashton in particular," he said. "I'm genuinely glad for him. Now it's down to me to get back in the squad and challenge for a place. For all the guys here who want to go to a World Cup this is a huge game to stand up and perform in.
"Going to Munster and winning in the semi-finals was huge and I thought I played well then - but this is bigger. It is a cup final. When you look at the number of internationals on the pitch the intensity will be akin to a Test match. I feel I am playing well at the moment. It is great to be part of a final and if I can capitalise on that and play well then hopefully I can ask some questions of the England coaches."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park