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Horgan ‘Not 100% Sure’ About Try That Never Was

Horgan ‘Not 100% Sure’ About Try That Never Was

Shane Horgan did his utmost to stretch his 6ft 4in frame over the try line when creating an attack out of nothing against Wales, but he admitted yesterday he was not sure if he had scored.

With a dummy pass and spurt into space, the big winger carved open the Welsh defence in the 23rd-minute for what, in the end, was Ireland’s only real try-scoring chance of their 16-12 loss to Warren Gatland’s side.

However, he was agonisingly stopped just inches short of the whitewash by a well-timed tackle from Mike Phillips, who also had a little help from Shane Williams.

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Taking up the story, Horgan said: “I wasn’t sure if I’d scored or not. I knew it was very, very close. I knew I got downward pressure, I knew that wasn’t an issue.

“And I think it was just a case of whether it had scraped some of the whitewash or not. I wasn’t 100% certain – sometimes you are and I wasn’t on that occasion.

“I was trying to get a sneaky look at the replay on the big screen,” he added.

It is fair to say that Horgan likes playing against England. Who could forget his injury-time try at Twickenham in 2006 that secured a Triple Crown-clinching victory?

Or his leap over Josh Lewsey to collect Ronan O’Gara’s cross-field kick and score in that historic and record-breaking 43-13 Croke Park win just over twelve months ago?

Although talk of such moments brings a smile to Horgan’s face, he is taking nothing for granted when considering next weekend’s clash with Brian Ashton’s side.

“I was surprised by England’s result (against Scotland). They have disproved me a couple of times during this Six Nations, but I thought they had the capability to be the best team in the tournament,” said the Boyne clubman.

“If there is anything I have learned in the last few years, it’s that you have to take every game on its merits and teams like Scotland, who were supposedly down on their feet, can knock out a huge performance.

“You can’t really assume that because a team hasn’t performed to their best one week, that they are not going to perform to their best the following week.

“That’s been shown through this Six Nations and through every one since the start of the competition.”

Despite the result against Wales, Horgan was understandably pleased to get his first 80-minute run-out with Ireland this year.

Back fully fit after a rib injury, the 29-year-old is hopeful of starting Saturday’s final game against England, with Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan hinting that he may switch Horgan into the centre to cover for the injured Brian O’Driscoll.

Commenting on his selection chances, the player himself said: “Well I don’t know at this stage. I’m not going to preempt Eddie’s selection. I don’t know who he is going to pick in the centre or in the team.

“We’ll see how we line out tomorrow (at training) to get a clear picture of what is going on.

“There’s a bit of trepidation coming back, but when you get your hands on the ball early it relaxes you a bit more and with a couple of early touches it was nice to get involved again.”

Horgan was also quick to dismiss the suggestion that the pressure is off Ireland for the England encounter, particularly with the Triple Crown and Six Nations title gone for another year.

He countered: “I don’t think the pressure is off against England at all. There’s a lot of pressure on and I don’t think as a rugby player you switch off because you’re out of contention for the championship.

“I don’t believe that is the case at all. There’s a huge amount of pressure on to perform and to beat England – you don’t go over there and say the pressure’s off and throw the ball around.”

Rallying himself and his team-mates to try and end the championship on a high, he added: “I don’t think you can wash it off after a game or two, but you do have to try to work your way through it. Of course there will be a mark there and when you think back after the Six Nations you will be very disappointed with it.

“But you have to try to get a peak against England and so put it to the back of your mind, maybe not indulge those thoughts that you would have about the game and errors that personally I or the team have made.

“The focus is on what we can do against England, but I think the result and performance probably go hand in hand, don’t they?

“When we perform to our best we generally win, and when we don’t, we don’t. That goes for the individual and the team.”