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O'Gara's retirement advice for his 'warts and all' friend

THEY shared the highs and lows and know each other like only good friends can – "warts and all".

And today retired rugby star-turned-TV pundit Ronan O'Gara will be watching with thousands more in the Aviva as Brian O'Driscoll makes his final appearance in an Irish jersey in a home Six Nations Match.

O'Gara said playing alongside O'Driscoll was amongst the highlights of his illustrious rugby career.

"My whole career was playing with Brian," O'Gara said. "I played 130 times with him for Ireland.

"Brian knows me warts and all and I know him warts and all.

"He's a special person, never mind player. It was an honour to play alongside him and to have such great memories."

O'Gara, who hung up his jersey eight months ago, said it will take O'Driscoll some time settling into retirement.

"The first few weeks are difficult but you get on with it. The big thing I miss is the team environment and the camaraderie," he said.

"Now that he's a da as well, that can put rugby in perspective," O'Gara said.


"It's the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. He has great days ahead of him. He should be proud of what he achieved. He's the best player in the country." O'Gara was speaking at Irish NGO Haven's annual Six Nation's lunch where he was being honoured for his outstanding contribution to Irish rugby.

During his career, O'Gara captained Munster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions.

He is the all-time highest points scorer for Ireland and the fourth-highest points scorer in the history of rugby union.

The former fly-half recently picked up an IFTA nomination for his documentary 'The Ronan O'Gara Documentary' and will battle it out with the late Paidi O Se for Sports Film of the Year.

"I wasn't aware of that," he said. "Obviously Paidi is an iconic figure. The producers make us look good."

Since Haven's launch in 2008, the charity has constructed, repaired and upgraded 2,400 homes in Haiti.