Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup: Management ready to coax O’Gara out of plans to retire

By Hugh Farrelly

Ireland want Ronan O'Gara to reconsider his plans to retire from international rugby, believing the out-half still has a lot to contribute after the World Cup.

The 34-year-old came off the bench to play a crucial role in Ireland's 15-6 victory over Australia on Saturday and afterwards spoke emotionally about ending his international career at the World Cup on a high.

“It's massive, I'm done with Ireland in a few weeks,” said O'Gara. “I have had a great time in this jersey but I want this to be the biggest time. This is a great bunch of lads and it means a lot to us.”

However, team manager Paul McNaughton said Ireland would be keen to have O'Gara play on with his country after the World Cup concludes.

“There's no doubt he still has something to offer the team after the World Cup,” said McNaughton.

“Undoubtedly, (coach) Declan Kidney and the management will be encouraging him to stay on. He's a very important part of the set-up here.”

O’Gara’s captain Brian O’Driscoll certainly believes his pal can continue after this World Cup and he insists the determination of Ireland's old guard is now mirrored by their younger players.

The World Cup has been an unhappy hunting ground for Ireland in the past, but victory over the Wallabies has given rise to the hope 2011 is the year they will realise their potential on the sport's grandest stage.

O'Driscoll revealed the desire to perform has consumed the entire squad.

“There's never been a shortage of drive in these guys, that's not something that comes and goes. It's innate, it's either in you or it's not,” he said.

“I hope that our preparation has put us in a position to be able to build on our result against Australia.

“But I'm not going to question the drive or desire in players like Paul O'Connell or Ronan O'Gara because I've seen it for 10 years.

“It's also in the younger guys ... you can see it in players like Sean O'Brien and Stephen Ferris.

“I know I'm naming guys but it's throughout the team.”

Ireland were cheered on by a huge contingent of travelling fans at a pulsating Eden Park to the extent the match felt like it might have been at Lansdowne Road.

“That support gives you a spring in your step, there's no doubt about that,” said O'Driscoll.

“With the Kiwis and other nations in the crowd getting behind us, it felt like a home game.

“When you're tired and you're struggling for a second or third wind that cheer can be the boost you need.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph