18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
As the build-up to Saturday's permanent tsb International against Australia continues, former Ulster coach Alan Solomons has backed the credentials of Ireland's debutant centre Andrew Trimble.
Alan Solomons (Belfast Telegraph): "The first time I saw Andrew (Trimble) was when he played for our Ulster A side as a schoolboy with Jonny Bell and David Humphreys against Ireland Under-21 at Fermanagh. Andrew was raw at that stage but clearly he had ability. No one could predict how quickly he would come through.
"With Tommy Bowe, I wasn't surprised that he got his (Ulster) cap last year. I could see that coming and I insisted that he came into the professional squad in my last season. And Trimble too has developed into a class rugby player.
"I would like to see him stay in the Ireland side at outside centre. Now obviously he has got strong competition there because there is Gordon D'Arcy, and Brian O'Driscoll is the top outside centre in the world. But Brian has got to get over his injury and get back to his form and one has to wait to see what happens. We will have to see how Trimble plays and it will be very interesting to see how he goes but he certainly has got to be involved in the (Irish) 22 this season."
Shane Horgan (Irish Examiner): "It's not as if they (Australia) were beaten by Namibia or some team like that. They lost to New Zealand, South Africa, France and England and I think that should be taken into consideration. I'm not trying to talk us down, but you have to be realistic enough to realise that they have been only beaten by top class opposition.
"Australia are a very strong team who will come to Lansdowne determined to stop that run of losses. They're probably not as physically intimidating as New Zealand in the pack but they have some pretty big boys, and their backline looks pretty awesome with some great names, and great players. They're strong right down to the bench as well. I don't think recent results is a correct barometer of how good they are."
Geordan Murphy (BBC Sport): "(Australian backs coach) Alan Gaffney said that he has the best back line in the world to work with - and it is hard to refute that.
"I know they are in a difficult situation at present coming of a record string of losses, but that was against the top teams in the world, and by narrow margins at that. There is no doubt they will be targeting the game on Saturday as one they can win and break their losing sequence.
"They have class in every department, and their backline is awesome. So really they are going to be a huge threat to us. It is now up to us on the day to play the way we can and prove to everyone that last week (against New Zealand) was a one-off."