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We had to cut O'Gara highlights – Ryle

A NUMBER of pivotal moments in Irish rugby hero Ronan O'Gara's career were omitted from his fly-on-the-wall documentary because there simply wasn't enough space, RTE's head of sport, Ryle Nugent, has admitted.

Mr Nugent said it was a sign of the strength of the documentary that so many highlights of the star's playing career were left on the cutting room floor.

Cork native O'Gara has received widespread praise following Thursday's documentary which charted the final four years of his rugby career and the highs and lows of professional sport.

In the 70-minute programme, controversial moments in O'Gara's career, including his decision to retire and move to France and his rivalry with fellow Irish fly-half Johnny Sexton, were explored.

Other key moments, including O'Gara's association with the British and Irish Lions and emotional interviews and family moments, weren't featured.

Mr Nugent was speaking in the place of producers Dave Berry and Nathan Nugent who spent four years making the candid documentary with the celebrated fly-half, travelling with him to crunch Irish and Munster games across Europe.

"The editorial decisions are left with the producers and yes of course they had lots of stuff that didn't make the cut," Mr Nugent told the Herald.

"In fact, if Dave and Nathan had their way they would have made the documentary two and a half hours long and still left stuff on the floor.

"That's the nature of the business. It's always a really good sign when you hit the final edits and there are pieces being left out that everybody believes should be in."

Mr Nugent said that O'Gara (36), who is now based in Paris as a training coach with French side Racing Metro, was completely content with the finished product.

"Every single word and every single picture that went into that programme deserved its place because there was equally good stuff that there just wasn't room for," he added.

Mr Nugent said that the documentary was a success because of O'Gara's honesty and they will consider doing similar sporting documentaries in the future if budget and time restraints allow it.

"Sometimes you get lucky and with Ronan we all felt from the beginning it was a sure thing because the fellow only knows one way; he is direct, he speaks his mind and he was honest," he said.

Mr Nugent, who was involved in the latter stages of the editing process, said it was very easy to give the documentary the green light.

"I can't speak highly enough of Dave and Nathan, they are superb at what they do," he said.

"They have lived this with Ronan for the last four years and I think that was obvious in what came out."

HONESTY

Rugby analyst Brent Pope said it was refreshing to see such honesty in a sporting hero and he hopes O'Gara's attitude will act as inspiration for up and coming players.

"I think it is good for people to see the real side of rugby and what they go through on a daily basis because you don't always get that with sporting stars of such a high calibre," Pope told the Herald.

hnews@herald.ie


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