Friday 18 January 2019

Shane Horgan: I didn’t want Ireland to win Grand Slam after being dropped by Declan Kidney

Former rugby ace wanted players to pick up injuries so he could get back in team

Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after the game with former teammates Shane Horgan (L) and Ronan O'Gara
Brian O'Driscoll celebrates after the game with former teammates Shane Horgan (L) and Ronan O'Gara
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Shane Horgan has admitted he didn’t want Ireland to win after he was dropped by Declan Kidney for the successful 2009 Six Nations campaign.

After eight years representing his country, Horgan was overlooked by Kidney and last night on Jarlath Regan’s Irishman Abroad podcast, Horgan admitted that the omission hurt him deeply.

“It was a nightmare for me. I hated it. I was devastated because I still thought I was good enough.”

Ireland went on to win their first Grand Slam in 61 years but they did so without the support of Horgan.

“I’d spent eight years of my life really committed to winning a Grand Slam and pretty much doing whatever I could to win it.

“The first year I wasn’t playing for Ireland was the year they won it. It was very difficult, very difficult for me to take at the time.

Brian O'Driscoll and Peter Stringer celebrate the 2009 Grand Slam
Brian O'Driscoll and Peter Stringer celebrate the 2009 Grand Slam

“Did I want Ireland to win it? I don’t know if I did at the time.”

Horgan’s hunger to get back into the squad was so strong that he admits he was hoping for others to get injured to open the door for him to get back in.

“When you’re not in that team you’re hoping for someone to get injured. You don’t want them to get seriously injured but you are thinking, ‘I wouldn’t mind if he had a bit of a sore hammy and had to sit out a couple of games and I could get back in again’.”

Horgan has now swapped the rugby pitch for the courtroom and has moved to London to start work as a trainee solicitor.

“I was always aware I had to do something after rugby. Generally, most people have some sort of plan as to what they’ll do.

“I was studying law alongside rugby so when I finished up it was pretty natural for me to go and start as a lawyer somewhere. I then had to finish off the vocational side of things – which I couldn’t do while I was a full-time rugby player.”

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