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Johnny Sexton vs Ronan O'Gara - Men apart united in pursuit of perfection

O’Gara and Sexton set new standards in performance and ambition

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Johnny Sexton replaces Ronan O'Gara against Scotland in the 2011 Six Nations. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Johnny Sexton replaces Ronan O'Gara against Scotland in the 2011 Six Nations. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Johnny Sexton and Ronan O'Gara. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Johnny Sexton and Ronan O'Gara. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

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Johnny Sexton replaces Ronan O'Gara against Scotland in the 2011 Six Nations. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The soap opera that was their rivalry at the time tends to obscure even now the grander legacies of Jonathan Sexton and Ronan O’Gara.

They are two all-time great figures in Irish sport, much less Irish rugby. They have both been pioneers of the transformational culture that has seen higher standards in preparation and performance and ambition across the board. Although they played a team sport, the position in which they played meant they were crucial as individuals to the fortunes of Leinster and Munster and Irish rugby.


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