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."
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WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
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Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.