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Sunday Aug 15, 2021

Emotional Monye reveals brutal changing room scenes after 2009 Lions heartbreak

A week on from the Springboks’ dramatic win over the British & Irish Lions in Cape Town and Ugo Monye gives his account of the iconic series-deciding Test from 2009.

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Monye was a member of the touring squad in 2009 but did not feature in the second Test match, which is widely regarded as one of the most physical in the history of professional rugby.

As well as the psychological challenges which hit Monye after full time, the former England winger went on to describe the scenes in the changing room with several players receiving medical treatment.

“My memory of that match is probably more vivid for what happened after,” said Monye. “I remember that feeling of helplessness because I couldn’t do anything to effect it and there’s nothing I could say to make people feel better. 

“I remember walking down the tunnel past Simon Shaw…he was crying as he was doing his interview and then I walked into the changing room. Adam Jones had his shoulder dislocated and being a big muscular man, they couldn’t relocated it so there were were two doctors holding his shoulder and head so you could just hear screaming from him.

“Brian O’Driscoll, who got knocked out, didn’t know what day of the week it was. Gethin Jenkins had fractured his cheek bone so there was blood everywhere. Jamie Roberts had fractured his wrist and Ronan O’Gara was in the corner of the changing room concussed and his eyeball was swollen from a collision. There’s devastation everywhere.”

Monye later played a memorable role in the third and final Test match of that series in 2009 with an iconic interception to help the Lions salvage a win on the tour.

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Last weekend’s third Test in South Africa was reminiscent of the classic second game 12 years ago with veteran fly half Morne Steyn slotting a late penalty to win the series in dramatic fashion, just as he did the last time the Lions visited.

 

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