Blues second row Paul Tito has revealed Wasps lock Simon Shaw is his inspiration.
Paul Tito has revealed London Wasps veteran Simon Shaw is his inspiration.
Cardiff Blues skipper Tito faces a head-to-head battle with lock Shaw in Saturday's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final.
And New Zealander Tito claims the evergreen England star spurs him and the next generation of second-rows onto personal glory.
Tito said: "Simon is an inspiration to myself and other players in our position as we get older.
"He is 36 but still seems to be getting stronger and stronger.
"The fact he started a couple of British Lions Test matches last summer says everything about the man. And he was awesome too.
"He's a big lump and a bit of a freak - the Guinness Premiership suits him well.
"He gets around the field, does a lot of work and I'm looking forward to a good battle.
"But I'd like to state that I never want to still be playing when I reach the age of 36."
While Shaw is on a mission to become the first player in European rugby to win four winner's medals, Wasps' Anglo-Welsh opponents aim to banish the painful memories of the heart-breaking Heineken Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat to Leicester Tigers.
Tito was sidelined with a rib injury only ten minutes into the dramatic clash at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium a year ago.
But the Kiwi insists he would have triumphed where Martyn Williams so cruelly failed in sudden-death, prompting a rule change by tournament organisers ERC.
Tito added: "I'm glad the authorities have changed the rules and I'm sure it will be better for the game. I watched the replay of it and you think, how did a game of rugby come down to that?
"I did my ribs and had to come off otherwise I would have been taking a kick before 'Nugget' (Martyn Williams). I think I would have been successful too although I'm sort of glad I didn't have to take one.
"Forwards aren't supposed to get kicks through the posts and I'm sure if it was Ben Blair or Ceri Sweeney missing rather than Martyn, they would have taken it more to heart.
"But I played golf with Martyn on Monday and he can fluke most things so I was surprised he didn't fluke that kick too.
"Last year's semi-final was a great occasion for everyone and it was one of the best games I've ever been involved in. The climax and excitement was unreal. It wasn't nice to lose in that way but all the neutral supporters told me it was the best game of rugby they had ever seen.
The Blues travel to Adams Park in red-hot form on the back of five successive wins.
Tito said: "We are peaking and I don't think too many teams would be lining up to face us. We've beaten Newcastle but we know Wasps will be a massive task for us.
"There's very little between the teams in these do-or-die matches and I expect it will be no different on Saturday. We played Toulouse in the Heineken Cup quarter-final last year and there was nothing in it and the same happened against Leicester in the semi-final.
"You only get two or three opportunities and you have to grab them with both hands because you won't get another against such a good defence in Wasps. We have to start well and maintain our form from the last two months. We'll have to bring our A-game to win the tie."
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.