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Ronan O’Gara Interview

Ronan O’Gara Interview

Ronan O’Gara

So what was it like in the run up to the team announcement and was O’Gara surprised at his inclusion in the starting line -up ?

“I don’t know whether I’d say I was surprised or not. I was certainly apprehensive in the lead up to the team announcement. The game against Llanelli had gone fairly well really, I’d been kicking well enough and the rest of my game I felt was good enough but then you never know how much they (the selectors) read into those type of games. I mean it’s always going to be close between myself and David, so there’d never be the slightest chance of complacency on my part when it comes to selection. I’m sure it’s the same for him.”

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“There’s no great rivalry as such between us when it comes to this situation. There would be of course when he’s playing for Ulster and me for Munster but at international level it’s two professionals going about their job. I mean when David was starting last season and I was on the bench, I was roaring him on. I wasn’t hoping he’d miss kicks and that they’d bring me on. Not at all. I mean he’s a teammate and he’s one of the guys I would get on with particularly well. But besides all that you’d always want the best for the team. We’d talk to each other about our kicking and would be mutually supportive when things aren’t going well. I’d have great respect for him. We’re very alike in that we’re very competitive, of course we both want to start in games, that’s only natural. There’d be something wrong if we didn’t.”

” I don’t find the onus of being the place kicker any burden. It’s something I’ve always done, I didn’t apply for the job. Having said that though, if someone else wanted to have a go, that’d be fine by me. People will often measure your performance by your place kicking and I suppose that’s only natural too because place-kicking is very measurable, be it three points or two. And if you miss kicks but make some good moves around the field you’re likely to be remembered – and judged by the kicks you miss. People remember the fella who scored the try or dropped the goal, not always the fella who won the lineout or made the tackle that led to the break that led to I suppose that’s understandable.”
“After a bad day how do I cope ? Well I tend to analyse my game with people I trust like my Dad, Eddie O’Sullivan, Declan (Kidney) and in latter times, Alan Gaffney. And put things behind me and move on. Lately I’ve been working hard in practice and I think it paid off against Llanelli. Now, on Saturday I’ve to bring it to a different level against Romania.”

“The preparation has been going well. Theres a good mood in the camp, or I should say there was until we heard of the death of Woody’s brother Gordon. That obviously put a damper on things and is something that we have to cope with. It’s really tough on Woody but all we can do is support him as best we can.”

” People ask is it harder to get motivated for a game such as this, compared to say, a game like the last one we played, against the All Blacks. Of course there’s a difference, I’d be telling lies if I said otherwise. But in fairness to the management, the preparation has been exactly the same, nothing has been done differently. Actually if anything we’ve trained harder for this one than the summer Tests because we’ve been together longer. And at the end of the day this is a Test match and there’s no-one unaware of that fact. There’s someone snapping at everyone’s heels at the moment, it’s not just me and Humps. The scene in the squad is very competitive right now and that can’t be a bad thing.”

” But yes, I’m looking forward to the match. I’m feeling fresh, probably fresher than last year. This time I had a four week break after the New Zealand trip and although there’s a long season stretching ahead I’m raring to go.”