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In Pics: Kicking Practice At Twickenham

In Pics: Kicking Practice At Twickenham

Click here for photos of Ireland’s kickers at practice at Twickenham on Friday ahead of the mouth-watering RBS 6 Nations tussle between England and Ireland.

Pictured above: Ireland out-half Ronan O’Gara tests his kicking range at Twickenham ahead of the RBS 6 Nations Championship finale on Saturday. O’Gara is currently the tournament’s top points scorer with 63 points – he kicked five penalties last time out for a 15-9 win over Scotland at Lansdowne Road.

O’Gara puts on his boots in the dressing room before practice. The San Diego-born Corkman is tipping Beef or Salmon for glory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but admitted his focus is purely on Twickenham this Saturday. He said: “As my career goes on, I find myself having less spare time and I have to force myself to take time off. I set my own standards and make up my own rules. In terms of distractions we are in a world of our own, and for a lot of us, this week has been an average week of preparing for a Test match.”

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David Humphreys, who has yet to play a single minute in this year’s RBS 6 Nations, laces up his boots for kicking practice. If O’Gara plays the full 80 minutes against England, it will be the first time in the benched Humphreys’ career that he has not earned game-time in the Championship – he has played in ever Five or Six Nations between 1996 and 2005. Humphreys has not played for Ireland since captaining the side to victory against Romania last November.

The 29-year-old said about his kicking practice this week: “There’s no point in practising something and not doing it right. Some days you have to do the work even if it is not going well for you. I’ve seen other people quit when things have not gone well for them, but I don’t believe in that.

“Usually at this stage of the season, it’s a case of playing one week, followed by a week off. That’s pretty sweet in terms of training because it allows you to do weights and fitness work, but this time we have to get our heads screwed on for another battle on Saturday.”

The scene at Twickenham as O’Gara works on his kicks to touch.

O’Gara will make his 60th appearance for Ireland on Saturday. On his last visit to Twickenham in 2004, the Munster number 10 overcame an early miss to kick four penalties and convert Girvan Dempsey’s try for a 19-13 victory against England which set Eddie O’Sullivan’s men up for a Triple Crown.

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**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**