Monye relishing England return
May 13, 2012
Ugo Monye celebrates his memorable try for the Lions against South Africa in 2009 © Getty Images
Ugo Monye is determined to re-ignite his England career when he returns to the site of his career-defining try for the British & Irish Lions.
Monye wrote his name into the record books with a sensational try in a brutal Test victory over the Springboks, and now, three frustrating years on, he will head back to South Africa desperate to pick up where he left off and kick-start an international career that stalled on 15 caps.
"To score the winning try in that third Test was the perfect way for me to end the tour and for the Lions to finish with a victory," Monye told Press Association Sport. "I closed that chapter on a good note. It was the best day of my life, it was such a powerful moment and I am hoping there will still be more of them to come.
"This is a great opportunity for me to open a new chapter. I would like to start up where I left off. Hopefully I can add something to this new-look England team."
Monye's last England appearance was in 2010, when he was injured in a drab and dreary Calcutta Cup draw with Scotland and replaced the following week by Chris Ashton. He remained on the fringes of England selection, frustrated at missing out on selection for the World Cup and for the Six Nations.
But with a new Quins contract, that will take him up to the 2015 World Cup, the 29-year-old is determined to force his way back into the international reckoning. "I signed a three-year contract at Quins for the very reason I wanted to give myself the best possible opportunity to play for my country," Monye said. "When people write you off or you are not the in vogue wing, there are two avenues you can take.
"You can kind of feel sorry for yourself, get your head down and kick the dust or you can try and do something about it. I feel I have always shown a good reaction to disappointment. I could have gone to France. Plenty of people have gone abroad and chased the money. I wanted to stay here.
"I know it is a professional sport and people need to look after themselves but you have a limited career to achieve what you can. What was important to me was being part of Harlequins and England. It was a big statement that I wanted to stay in the country because I feel I have something to offer. I feel I have shown that this season. Now I want to back that up in South Africa."
Monye is one of a record nine Harlequins selected in the 42-man England squad for the three-Test, five-match tour. He missed yesterday's Aviva Premiership semi-final victory over Northampton with a hamstring injury but will be fit for the final and for the tour.
"Things are a lot better and a lot more stable now than they were in the couple of years I was involved with England," Monye said. "The results weren't exactly going our way. I feel if I am involved in the current England squad I will be able to fully show what I can do.
"They want players who are playing well for their club to replicate that on the international stage. I couldn't be any more motivated to do that. I heard a stat that London Irish last year were scoring one try a game just from Mike Catt's analysis. He has obviously got a really good eye for unlocking defences. He likes a running game and he is a guy I get on really well with. I am just so excited about the whole thing.
"South Africa is great country for me to be going back to. I know what it takes to win out there. I am really pleased to be back in form and back playing for England."
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