O'Gara happy to answer Ireland call
The clamour for the recall of Ronan O'Gara to Ireland's starting line-up has already begun but the veteran fly-half is happy to adopt whatever role the team demands.
The Irish slumped to a dispiriting 23-21 defeat by South Africa at Aviva Stadium on Saturday but only after O'Gara had inspired a thrilling late comeback on his 100th cap. The 33-year-old's appearance from the bench at the expense of Jonathan Sexton with 15 minutes to go coincided with Ireland's best spell.
"I feel like I have a lot to contribute but if there's fierce competition for my place that's the way it has to be," said O'Gara.
Samoa are the next visitors to Lansdowne Road on Saturday and O'Gara could start alongside Munster half-back partner Peter Stringer after Leinster duo Sexton and Eoin Reddan struggled against the Springboks.
O'Gara, who also highlighted Stringer's contribution, is a reluctant substitute but puts the team first.
He added: "I just have to make an impact whenever I can. I'm enjoying my rugby and have been in good form this year. I want to keep it going.
"Tempo is what you're going to get with Peter. He's an underestimated, under-appreciated player and maybe his experience was needed."
The result against injury-hit South Africa was Ireland's fourth successive Test defeat, a losing streak that extends to six in all matches.
Samoa has thus become a must-win game and the scope for coach Declan Kidney to make changes is minimal - a dangerous position to be in with New Zealand and Argentina also to come.
"There are places up for grabs and people are going to react differently to that," O'Gara said. "If the team plays well as individuals, that won't be any good. We must regroup. Samoa will be strong, they won't be like Fiji or the Pacific Islands. We'll have to have a good attitude and see where that gets us."