Ugo Monye admits the British and Irish Lions are "desperate" to end their South Africa tour on a winning note at Ellis Park tomorrow.
But recent history is stacked against the Lions, given they have not triumphed in the final Test of a series since David Campese’s defensive howler gifted them a 19-18 verdict over Australia 20 years ago.
On three of the last four tours, the Lions took serious beatings - defeated 30-13 and 38-19 by New Zealand, while South Africa smashed them 35-16 12 years ago.
Despite suffering agonising defeats in Durban and Pretoria during the past fortnight, wing Monye claims motivation will not be an issue for one last crack at the world champion Springboks.
“The guys are hurting from what happened last week - they are devastated - and we can’t wait to get back on the pitch now and put that right,” he said.
“I hope we can go home with our heads lifted up high. We are desperate to get a result - this is our last opportunity.
“This is the last time this team will ever play together, and there are some guys who will never be on another Lions tour - so there is a lot at stake.”
Monye returns to the Test arena as part of a much-changed Lions side, having experienced at first hand professional sport’s highs and lows.
Selected to make his Lions Test debut in Durban, he then blew two glorious try-scoring opportunities - and paid with his place for round two of the series at Loftus Versfeld.
“Not being involved in the second Test week was really tough,” he added.
“To go from starting to not being involved was a tough thing, but you have got to get over it pretty quickly and support the guys who have got the opportunity.
“It was gutting, really frustrating. I had a couple of try-scoring opportunities, and not to convert them was tough.
“But at the same time, I also credit the guys who were in there making the tackles.
“I know how happy I’ve been as a defender this season to stop tries, but on the flip side as an attacker you are desperate to score. As a wing, that’s my job.
“There were a couple of good opportunities which I didn’t take, and fortunately for me I hope I’ve got an opportunity to put those wrongs right.
“To play in a Lions Test match is the highest point of your career, but to go from that to not starting within a few days is quite a tough pill to swallow.
“But you can’t feel sorry for yourself. When you put things into perspective, you are achieving what 95% of rugby players will never achieve - and I am so proud to have played in a Test jersey.
“I am very fortunate to have another chance - and I am looking to grab that with both hands.
“Sport takes you to the greatest peaks and also down to the darkest troughs. You’ve only got to look at last week’s Test match (the Lions lost 28-25 in injury time) to realise what sport is all about.
“I was absolutely gutted after the first Test, not just losing it but probably contributing to that at the same time, but you just pick yourself up and dust yourself down.”