Lions in South Africa 2009

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Southern Kings 8-20 British & Irish Lions, Port Elizabeth
Monye ready to rough it with the Springboks
Graham Jenkins in Port Elizabeth
June 16, 2009

Lions winger Ugo Monye is relishing the prospect of another bruising battle against the South Africa on Saturday.

The England speedster was part of the Lions side that weathered a brutal onslaught from the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday but he insists he will gladly front up to the Springboks in just four days time should he get the nod from head coach Ian McGeechan for the eagerly-awaited first Test.

"It won't be difficult at all," said the in-form Monye who stepped in to face the Kings at the last minute after Shane Williams was ruled out following a bout of sickness. "The motivation is the chance to play against the Springboks in the first Test - that is potentially a huge honour and if I am called upon then it can't come quick enough. If it was tomorrow I would certainly be keen to play."

The 26-year-old Premiership star was left battered and bruised following his third appearance for the elite tourists but his fourth try in the famous red jersey and the Lions' 20-8 victory helped soften the blow of a fat lip he picked up at the bottom of a ruck.

"I've experienced more physical games than that but perhaps not so much off the ball stuff," he said having stepped in for Shane Williams after the Welshman suffered a bout of sickness. "But that's fine. I love that. It fires me up and gets me more involved in the game and I welcome that because physicality is a good part of my game and I really thrive off that."

The Southern Kings' abrasive approach did not win them many friends in the Lions camp with some reluctant hand shakes at the final whistle and Monye was amongst those to point the finger at their hosts.

"We are disappointed and I'm not going to hide that fact," said Monye."The behaviour of some of those guys on the pitch was something we're not used to. It was a physical game and you expect that - it is the first thing you think of when you play any side in South Africa. But I think they stepped over the mark a few times with elbows off the ball, [James] Hooky's gone off with a concussion, the late charge down on Riki [Flutey] - these things are all disappointing.

"The guys were provoked, they were hit late," he explained. "I don't want to sound like a whinger, it was a tough game, it was physical. We expect that and we look forward to that because physicality is part of our game too. A victory is a victory, it was under tough circumstances and I'm glad that the guys kept their composure and stuck to our pattern of play."

Monye's attention will now switch to Saturday's showdown with the Springboks in Durban but he is taking nothing for granted.

"Have I done all I can to get in? I don't think you're ever fully satisfied," he added, "but the game is over now so it's just a case of sitting tight and waiting for the selection meeting."

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