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Ronan O'Gara praises Ian McKinley's 'b***s' after he made Italy debut and he confirms Crusaders' contact

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A freak accident on a rugby pitch robbed him of the sight in his left eye six years ago but Ian McKinley became an international rugby player today.

The former Leinster man was forced into early retirement in 2011 after he lost the sight in his left eye as a result of an accident during an All-Ireland League game for UCD against Lansdowne in 2010.

A special pair of goggles have allowed the flyhalf to return to the game he loves and he resurrected his club career in Italy.

His form for Benetton Treviso in the Guinness Pro14 earned him a call-up from Italian boss Conor O'Shea and he was introduced today as a second half sub on 62 minutes in the 19-10 win over Fiji.

He also kicked his first international points by landing a late penalty.

"It's a fantastic story. He was knocked more so than any player and he had the balls to come back," Ronan O'Gara told RTE Sport

"Professional sport is ruthless.

"Imagine how proud his family are today. It's something that he'll remember forever more."

O'Gara also confirmed that negotiations are underway between Racing 92 and the Canterbury Crusaders after he confirmed reports that the New Zealand are after his services.

O'Gara is contracted to the Top 14 club until the summer of 2019 but the Crusaders want him to become assistant head coach to Scott Robertson next year at the reigning Super Rugby champions.

"The horse has bolted with the story. The clubs are in communication," he said

"There has been contact but it's a way of just wait and see. I'm really enjoying my time in Paris."

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