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'It's actually a really exciting time' - Ronan O'Gara relishing response from 'hopping mad' Joe Schmidt and his team

 

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Ronan O'Gara (inset) is excited to see how Ireland respond to adversity

Ronan O'Gara (inset) is excited to see how Ireland respond to adversity

Ronan O'Gara (inset) is excited to see how Ireland respond to adversity

Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara is in an upbeat mood despite the humbling nature of Ireland's 32-20 defeat to England on Saturday and can't wait to see the response Joe Schmidt inspires in his players.

Ireland were dominated physically, out-thought tactically and outplayed as there winning streak was brought to a shuddering halt.

O'Gara believes Schmidt will be 'hopping mad and shocked with his players' after their display but is looking forward to seeing what the Kiwi and his side produce at Murrayfield on Saturday.

"It's actually a really exciting time for them now," he told Virgin Media Sport.

"You have to analyse it really accurately. The team will be no different, they have been sensational up until this point.

"Yeah, they got a big belt yesterday but great teams respond well.

"If they don't perform at the weekend then we may be able to question a few things but for me, the biggest thing is that you can't change mindset mid-match. They came at us and we couldn't do anything about it.

"That has a lot to do with mental preparation and it will be interesting to see how that goes. It will be difficult in Scotland but I don't think there should be alarm bells going off at the minute."

 

Schmidt's selection gamble of picking Robbie Henshaw at full-back didn't go to plan with the Athlone native struggling to cover the back-field to nullify England's strong kicking game.

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O'Gara feels Schmidt must stick with Henshaw even though there will be a clamour to get Rob Kearney back into the starting XV.

"We didn't see him in his best light, there's no doubt about it. Has he played enough there? No," O'Gara added.

"Once you've played him there, you stick with him.

"Professional sport is ruthless and at that level he got exposed in his positioning once or twice. If you take him out what message do you send to him?"

On the possibility of reinstating Kearney, he said: "Of course, he's been Ireland's best full-back for 10 years. He consistently performs for Ireland. He just needs to get his body right.

"I'm not in the camp but it seems to me from the outside looking in that he probably hasn't presented himself fit enough to feature in Joe's thoughts but maybe now, in a reassessment of what happened (against England), he might say 'I want him, I want to base my team with Rob at 15'."


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