Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Rugby star Ronan O’Gara hits back at columnist Kevin Myers

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.

Ronan O'Gara

ROCHESTOWN, CORK