Monday 19 February 2018

O'Gara/Contepomi could be rugby's Keane/Vieira

Ronan O'Gara is tackled by Felipe Contepomi BRENDAN MORAN/SPORTSFILE
Ronan O'Gara is tackled by Felipe Contepomi BRENDAN MORAN/SPORTSFILE

Trevor Hogan

The brilliant Keane-Vieira documentary shown last Tuesday night gave a unique insight into one of sport's great rivalries. Roy Keane, in particular, dominated the programme with classic lines, like the one about Dennis Bergkamp.

"He doesn't fly," he said, referring to the Dutch striker's fear of air travel. "What does that say about him? He can't even play in pre-season tours."

The concept and format of the programme naturally lends itself to potentially being used for other sports.

So what about the chances of a rugby equivalent? In an Irish context, there could be a few candidates, with the main ones coming from Munster and Leinster.

Maybe we could see an "O'Gara-Contepomi" face off across a bare desk in a Cork warehouse?

Ronan O'Gara is one of the few personalities who could match the level of directness and honesty provided by Keane, while Felipe Contepomi has arguably had the biggest impact on the Irish game of any foreign player. Their relationship defined the Munster-Leinster rivalry of the 2000s.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the ITV4 documentary was the interaction of Keane and Patrick Vieira as they picked the combined greatest Arsenal and Manchester United XIs. Keane again, providing the memorable lines: "(Robert) Pires has done very well getting in there."

Who knows -- a documentary culminating in an argument between O'Gara and Contepomi as they choose between John Hayes and Stan Wright for a slot on the best combined Leinster/Munster XV could provide television gold.

Irish Independent

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