Sport Six Nations

Monday 10 December 2018

2009 or 2018? Ronan O'Gara gives his verdict on which Ireland Grand Slam team was better

17 March 2018; Conor Murray, left, and Jonathan Sexton of Ireland after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium in London, England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
17 March 2018; Conor Murray, left, and Jonathan Sexton of Ireland after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium in London, England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ronan O'Gara has said that the current crop of Ireland Grand Slam champions have moved things to a 'new level' from the 2009 side that completed a Six Nations clean sweep.

O'Gara ended a 61-year wait for a Grand Slam when he dropped the winning goal to beat Wales in Cardiff almost ten years ago, sparking massive scenes of celebrations as a team of veteran stars finally got over the line.

Nine years on, a new team led by Joe Schmidt matched the feat with a dominant win over Eddie Jones' England at Twickenham, with Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray running the show at half-back for Ireland.

The latest achievement prompted comparisons between the two teams and speaking after his induction into the World Rugby Hall of Fame this afternoon, O'Gara said that while he thoroughly enjoyed winning the Grand Slam, he thinks the current side have taken things to a 'new level'.

"The Grand Slam was the final result of a lot of work," O'Gara said of the 2009 triumph.

"We had been second in the championship four times previously and someday it was going to happen, you just had to keep believing. We had been an honest team and obviously the boys nowadays have kicked it on to a new level.

"That happens in sport, you get better if you keep a great attitude. The Grand Slam was spectacular but what I enjoyed most was the journey."

O'Gara added that it was 'hugely humbling' to get inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

"It’s pretty spectacular, it’s hugely humbling," said the 41-year-old.

"I really enjoyed the journey, I was lucky that I was injury-free for a lot of it.

"Every young boy dreams of playing for their country for the first time. It’s amazing though, when you get into it you become overpowered with such positive thoughts.

"It’s a great day for me and my family obviously but also [my] primary school, secondary school, Cork Constitution, Munster, Ireland, the Lions, Racing, Crusaders.

"A lot of people made me get here and I’m smart enough to realise I played a team sport and had some awesome packs of forwards in front of me that made me look good.

"I’d be thinking about them boys, especially one or two guys who aren’t with us.

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