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Captaincy Is ‘A Huge Bonus’ For O’Gara

Captaincy Is ‘A Huge Bonus’ For O’Gara

Ronan O’Gara wants the British & Irish Lions to ‘make a statement’ when he captains them against the Emerging Springboks at Newlands on Tuesday evening.

The Munster and Ireland out-half and 2009 Grand Slam winner leads the tourists against a strong Emerging Springboks side.

And with head coach Ian McGeechan not selecting the second Test team until Thursday, Ronan O’Gara is among those hoping to leave an impression.

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“There are, I hope, some Test places to play for,” the Corkman said.

“Being realistic, I suppose it would be about four or five, and people are aware of it.

“The most important thing, though, is that we make a statement as a team and there will be certain individuals who may benefit, but who knows who those people are at this minute.

“Having said that, if we don’t perform as a team then none of us have a chance.

“What I have learnt in my career is that the collective is far more important than the individual, but individuals do benefit as a result of the collective.”

O’Gara has been chosen as the Lions’ fifth skipper on tour – he follows Paul O’Connell, Brian O’Driscoll, Phil Vickery and Donncha O’Callaghan – and a strong individual display would certainly put pressure on current Test number 10 Stephen Jones.

“I’ve got to keep the pressure on Stephen, and that has to be the goal on Tuesday night for as long as I’m playing,” he added.

“Of course, I want to run out on Saturday to start the Test, but now I have this to think about, this huge honour of captaining the Lions, so my focus is probably taken a bit from that.

“It’s a huge bonus and a very big day for me.”