As he approaches his 100th Test appearance, Munster's Ronan O'Gara says he can't see himself ever giving up rugby.
It had been anticipated that the 33-year-old Corkman would hang up the boots after next year's World Cup following a radio interview last August, when he intimated that his time at the top was coming to an end.
But with a renewed appetite for the game — and for life — Ireland's leading point scorer says he plans to stick it out for as long as he can.
“In previous interviews I may have said that I only plan on playing for another two seasons but I've gone completely the other way now,” he explains, “I can't see myself stopping.
“With hindsight it was an inaccurate way of thinking about it. Why would I put a timeline on it? The minute you stop enjoying it or when you think you're not the best man to play, then you go.”
Part of the reason for O'Gara's new-found exuberance can be explained by the birth of second son JJ last June.
“I find contentment through my family life and kids,” he smiles. “That's the real world, when rugby's finished that's what my life will essentially be about.” But moreover, the challenge set down to him by Jonathan Sexton has forced him to re-evaluate his goals and is the driving force behind his renewed motivation.
“Maybe a year ago I was frustrated with being on and off the team,” he says. “But now it's all to play for, and I feel like I can offer a lot.
“Of course, I've a huge battle for the 10 jersey. I haven't been this motivated for a long time — I'm delighted with my consistency of performance, and excited about the challenge of trying to get onto the team.”
O'Gara's form this season has been as good as it has for some time. His goal-kicking rate is 86pc, a far cry from his record this time last year when he copped his share of criticism for his below par stats, and in some cases his approach.
“It's an interesting subject,” he says. “I've no problem saying that I treated the first three Magners League games last season as warm-up games.
“Maybe that's disrespectful to my team-mates and to the competition. I didn't have any warm-up games so it was a chance for me to experiment and to learn. “I kicked poorly in those games and then I tried to get it back against the Ospreys when the pressure was on, but I didn't kick well in that game.
“It was perceived I wasn't kicking well but it was only for three games and as you know everything in this country snowballs. This year I've worked it out in my head what I want to do kicking-wise and I'm happy with how I'm striking the ball.”