Saturday 20 January 2018

'No coming back for ROG after Deccie opts for Jonny'

Deccie Kidney has chosen Jonny Sexton as out-half for the (2009) game with South Africa. I would have given anything to have been a fly on the wall when Deccie told Ronan O'Gara he was dropped for this one.

I always thought that Jonny was pushing ROG hard and in recent interviews, ROG has basically been saying: "Play me. Play me. I'm the man."

And he's right. When you have done everything that Ronan O'Gara has done in his career you have to remain supremely confident of your own ability.

With the media piling in behind Jonny's claims for the No 1 slot, ROG was telling everyone that he believes he is still the better player.

I don't think there was one single player on the Irish team who really, honestly, thought, that Deccie would look beyond ROG for this one.

Deccie has been coaching ROG since he was 12 or 13 and the relationship between the two of them is actually bizarre, but amazing.


I've been at Ireland team meetings where Deccie will start psycho-babbling a little bit and ROG will sit there, frozen over, completely disinterested, not bothering to hide his total boredom.

It seems that, after being with Deccie for 20 years or so, ROG can't handle too much more of Deccie's brand of deep stuff, and tunes it out. Deccie seems to understand that and accept it.

It's not like he's being openly disrespectful. Even if ROG thinks it's pure bulls**t, the two of them can still work together and win a Grand Slam.

However, I find it hard to see ROG coming back from this moment with Deccie. This is a big shift in their relationship and, I suppose, also in the trust between player and coach.

ROG didn't play all that well in 2009 and the drop-goal against Wales, which clinched the Grand Slam, covered up a lot of deficiencies in his overall season.

He's also been poor by his own high standards in the past few months. If you were to forget about all that ROG has done and basically call this one on form, pure and simple, then there's only one choice and that's Jonny Sexton.

Irish Independent

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