Sunday 18 February 2018

ROG still has the magic to perform one more time

Ronan O'Gara
Ronan O'Gara

Denis Leamy

I remember thinking before Christmas, when it was apparent things were not going well in Racing Metro, was there any chance that ROG might put on the boots again and play?

I have not yet seen 'ROG: The Ronan O'Gara Documentary' -- I have it recorded and am looking forward to watching it -- but I'm told he says in it that he would love to put on the boots again and play for 10 minutes.

I know how he feels. It is a difficult transition, you are so used to the same environment, doing the same things all the time, in many ways you are institutionalised.

You know that film 'The Shawshank Redemption' where the old man who has been in jail for so long, comes out of jail and tries to reintegrate to society?

He can't handle it. He is so used to a structure, being told to be here at a certain time, eat this, sleep for this long, drink this.

We are all a bit like that in professional rugby. Then you go into coaching and you are trying to get lads to do things that you were able to do with ease. Sometimes you want to go out and just do it rather than try to teach a lad.

Thankfully, I know my body would not be able for it, but ROG, who could control a game with such precision, probably feels he is still up to the job. And, do you know something? He probably is.

He could be minded in that position and yet dictate a game. You just wonder what would happen if Johnny Sexton got injured -- or when he is away on Six Nations duty -- and a crisis happened in Racing Metro.

If ROG got the tap on the shoulder, he would be out there in a flash. Stranger things have happened. Guys like him simply never lose the magic.

Irish Independent

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