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O’Gara: Retirement Talk Wide Of The Mark

O’Gara: Retirement Talk Wide Of The Mark

Ronan O’Gara has no intention of stepping away from international rugby following the conclusion of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup run in New Zealand, insisting that a TV interview he gave last weekend was misinterpreted.

Ronan O’Gara has clarified the comments he made in an interview with RTÉ Sport after last Saturday’s historic Rugby World Cup win over Australia.

“I’m done with Ireland in a few weeks. I’ve had a great time in this jersey but I want this to be the biggest time,” said O’Gara, sparking speculation that he will retire from Test rugby in a few weeks’ time.

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However, Ireland’s record points scorer told a press conference today in Taupo, where the squad are based for part of this week, that talk of an impending retirement is wide of the mark.

“On Saturday I was speaking in the context of being done with Ireland in six or seven weeks’ time in terms of this World Cup,” he told reporters.

“I said I’m done with Ireland in a few weeks and there are different interpretations of that. It was a great night, one of my best nights. I was so proud to be part of the team.

“From my point of view, when you set goals as a professional player everything ends with the World Cup final. That’s where I stand at the minute.

“It’s important for me to put an end to this because it’s a distraction the team don’t need. In my own head I’ll reassess at the end of the World Cup.

“But I want to be part of this team because it’s a great team at the moment. It’s about being part of an Ireland team that will do itself justice in the competition and give the supporters here and at home something they deserve.”

Last November O’Gara penned a new IRFU international contract which takes him up to the end of the 2012/13 season. The rare victory on Southern Hemisphere soil was another achievement to add to the 34-year-old’s already glittering CV.

Now Ireland’s second most-capped player behind Brian O’Driscoll, O’Gara has won four Triple Crowns, one RBS Six Nations Championship title and a Grand Slam in 2009 as well as two Heineken Cups, three Celtic League titles and a Celtic Cup with Munster.

This has been augmented by his selection for three British & Irish Lions tours and his current standing as the fourth top scorer in world rugby history (1039 points).

He also boasts the Six Nations points-scoring record (551 points) and the Heineken Cup points-scoring record (1196 points), and was honoured as the inaugural winner of the ERC European Player award last year.

O’Gara remains a key member of the Ireland squad, having started against New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, Wales, France and England in the past 15 months.

Although he has considered retiring ‘plenty of times’ in recent seasons, the Corkman asserted: “There are plenty of thoughts in your head when you’re disappointed but it’s losers who quit when things aren’t going so well for them.

“Retirement hasn’t entered my head seriously in that regard. I’m a fighter and I’ll keep fighting until the end. I’m not sure when that is.

“Playing for Ireland means so much, you don’t walk away from the team until it’s right. You take advice from people you respect on that front. I’m not at that stage yet.”

Follow the Ireland team in New Zealand on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.