Rugby World Cup
Shaw eyes World Cup glory
June 20, 2011
Shaw talks to ESPNscrum about the World Cup%]
Veteran England lock Simon Shaw has set his sights on winning this year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
The soon-to-be 38-year-old, included in Martin Johnson's 45-man training squad for this year's tournament, is closing in on his third World Cup having been an unused replacement during England's run to the title in 2003 and a key figure in their 2007 defence. That campaign ended in defeat and the grizzled second row is determined to go one better this time around.
"The squad's goal will be to get to the final and win it," Shaw told ESPNscrum. "If your goal is to get to the semi-final or come second then often that will happen. No-one really wants to get to the semi-finals and bow out. The goal is to win it and nothing else is quite up to scratch."
Shaw, who is out of contract with Wasps but keen to play on next season, found a new lease of life on the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa and insists he remains hungry for international honours - a full 15 years since making his Test match bow.
"I thought after the last World Cup that I wouldn't see another but suddenly here we are just a few months out from another one and I'm really gunning for it," Shaw said. "I am just grateful to have had a career as long as I have. I would have been happy to have played for ten years but I have been playing in the top flight for 20 years now so to go to another World Cup would be fantastic. As long as I am fit and able to carry on at the top level then I will continue to plug away.
England face three warm-up games before the World Cup, twice against Wales and a return to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin where Ireland wrecked their Six Nations Grand Slam dream a few short months ago - a re-match that Shaw is relishing.
"There is always pressure to perform but we've got to come together as a team and playing against Wales home and away is going to be tough as is going to Ireland where we didn't perform so well last time and all before the World Cup," Shaw said. "There's a lot of pressure but that's what pre-World Cup camps should be about. It's about seeing how guys perform under pressure.
"We have to acknowledge that Ireland played very well, but at the same time we have to realise that we weren't up to it, but I don't see that happening again. We have a young side and are learning all the time and we took a lot of confidence out of the other games and ultimately we won the Championship and we would have taken that at the start."
Shaw was named in the latest England squad alongside fellow Wasp Riki Flutey who missed the 2011 Six Nations after struggling to find his best form due to a season blighted by injury. If named in the final 30-man squad for the World Cup, it will offer the Wellington-born centre the chance to go into battle on home soil in an England shirt for the first time.
"I've had lots of phone calls and text messages from family and friends who are hoping that I make the squad and if I do it will be absolutely amazing to go back to New Zealand and play on home soil with a red rose," Flutey said. "The time I have been in the England camp, from day one, I have felt part of the team and I'm sure it has been the same for the other guys in the squad."
"I enjoy the game of rugby and never see it as a job. I am all about getting out there and doing what I can for the team, whether that's by showing my skills, side-stepping, using my footwork, communication skills; I do what I can for the team. I put enough pressure on myself as it is to get 100% fit and perform for my team, whether it is Wasps or England. If I do get the opportunity then that is what I will be doing."
We spoke to Simon Shaw and Riki Flutey at the launch of O2 Touch, an RFU initiative aiming to ger England playing touch rugby. To get involved and to be in with a chance of playing touch at Twickenham visit www.rfu.com/O2touch
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