Friday 19 January 2018

O’Callaghan: O'Gara was more upset at losing his Newbridge gig to Amy Huberman than caps record

Donncha O'Callaghan
Donncha O'Callaghan


Munster's most capped player Donncha O’Callaghan has joked that Ronan O'Gara is probably more upset at losing his Newbridge deal to Amy Huberman than his giving way to his good friend as the province's record caps holder.

The Munster second row overtook the Racing Metro on the list of all-time appearances coach after coming off the bench early against Zebre in the victory at Musgrave Park on Saturday night to earn his 241st appearance for the province, moving him one clear of O'Gara. Not that he feels the former out-half lost too much sleep over it.

"I don't think he was too upset to be honest," he told Ray D’Arcy on Today FM.

“I think he will be more upset with Amy Huberman taking his Newbridge gig to be honest than losing either of the two records,” he said wryly.

O'Callaghan has said it was a "massive honour" and added it was all the more special being in Cork.

“Thomond is our home, but it was extra special that it was at Mugrave Park. I’m a Cork boy and that is where I got my first cap,” he said.

Since making his debut against the Edinburgh Reviers back in 1998 as a teenager, O’Callaghan has said that while kept a close on his own appearances, it was only in recent times he discovered who held the record.

“To be fair I would have always kept an eye on my own caps but I never who had the actual record. I always thought it was John Hayes, but it wasn’t until somebody told me it was Rog I targeted it as a bit of a plan to go after it.

“As a Munster forward, you can’t have a back leading the way.”

After surpassing the record, O’Callaghan has no intentions of hanging his boots up anytime soon and signed a two-year extension earlier in the campaign.

“For me, I am feeling good, I am not carrying any bangs and knocks and I am really enjoying my rugby.”

“It’s all how you live your life. I put it down to healthy living and I put it down to being a non-smoker and non-drinker.”

The Cork Constitution forward also said that the atmosphere in the Munster set-up is much better than it was given the changing dynamic of the group.

“I really do enjoy playing with the group we have at the moment.

“I know it might sound harsh on the older guys, but they are more fun. There is a great buzz around the dressing room, no-one talks about negative equity.”

“We’re just there to have fun.,” he said before adding the major difference now is that after training the younger players leave to go playing Call of Duty for the afternoon while he goes home to his family.”

The 99-capped international is also hopeful of an Irish victory in Twickenham this weekend with a Triple Crown at stake, not that he expects it to be a free-flowing game in London.

“I think it will be a tough match and really physical, but it I don’t think it will be much of a spectacle. It will be hopefully one of these games where hopefully we get the right result.”

O’Callaghan added that the humiliation suffered by Ireland last time out in Twickenham should be a good motivating tool for Joe Schmidt’s side.

“I was playing two years ago and it was hugely embarrassing when we were out-scrummaged and it was like we had roller blades rather than boots and I know that will burn for an awful lot of lads.”

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