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Monye's England dream still alive

The last time Ugo Monye stepped on a rugby field in South Africa he experienced the greatest day of his life, scoring the winning try in a British and Irish Lions Test victory.

Three frustrating years on, Monye will head back to South Africa with England this summer desperate to pick up where he left off and kick-start an international career that stalled on 15 caps.

"This is a great opportunity for me to open a new chapter," said Monye. "I would like to start up where I left off. Hopefully I can add something to this new-look England team."

Monye could have accepted one of the lucrative offers of a move to French club rugby that he has received over the last two years but his desire to play again for England led him to sign a new three-year contract with Harlequins, which takes him up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

And Monye believes there is no better place than South Africa for him to relaunch his England career - and no better environment than the one being created by head coach Stuart Lancaster.

"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 said. "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."

Monye has remained on the fringes of England selection, frustrated at missing out on selection for the World Cup and for the Six Nations but at no stage has his desire to play for England waned. Others who are out of favour have taken the money in France, but Monye could not let go of his dream.

That attitude will have resonated with Lancaster, who has built his new England around a desire and passion for the red rose that he felt was missing under Johnson.

"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."


From Belfast Telegraph