Irish rugby hero Ronan O'Gara has hit back after columnist Kevin Myers blamed him for Ireland's loss to France.
O'Gara (32) said: “I do not and will not accept being castigated by a journalist who I suspect knows nothing about rugby, but somehow appoints himself as an ‘expert'.”
The Irish Independent and Belfast Telegraph columnist wrote about his belief that the Cork native was a “weak” player.
“Declan Kidney did not choose a team that could win. His selection of Ronan O'Gara said as much,” he added.
O'Gara said that the description “falls well short of the journalistic standards I would expect from our newspapers”.
O'Gara's letter in full
I have to reply to the scurrilous article by Kevin Myers, although it takes a lot for me, as a professional sportsman, to react to a newspaper article.
However, rugby is my place of work and whether it's with Munster, Ireland or the Lions, I take my work very seriously.
I do not accept being castigated by a journalist who I suspect knows nothing about rugby but somehow appoints himself as an 'expert'. This falls well short of the journalistic standards I would expect from one of our main national newspapers.
Ireland was well beaten last Saturday by a French team that was better on the day. I am but one of that Irish team and I'm well known for taking my share of responsibility, regardless of the outcome of any game.
I know only too well the build-up to Saturday's game -- and indeed to other recent internationals -- in relation to my position.
I am well able to analyse any game of rugby and would often be accused by those whom I most trust of being my own harshest critic. However, in relation to last Saturday, I will not be scapegoated by Mr Myers or any journalist who wants to write in that fashion.
Any article needs to be balanced and I would suggest to you, Mr Editor, that that is the least you should demand from your journalists, whether freelance or otherwise.