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."
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.