Monday 20 November 2017

No guts, no glory

O’Gara tells Ireland to show no fear and get in French faces

Hugh Farrelly

Ireland's match-winner in Rome last weekend has declared that Declan Kidney's side must be "gutsy" against Grand Slam champions France on Sunday.

Ronan O'Gara came off the bench at the Stadio Flaminio and inspired Ireland to a 13-11 triumph with a perfectly executed drop goal after Luke McLean's try had pushed the Italians into what looked like a decisive lead.

The 33-year-old out-half won his 104th Ireland cap last Saturday, but is on the bench again behind Jonathan Sexton and has called on his team-mates to go after the French as they seek a performance and victory to boost their Six Nations campaign.

"I play rugby to win and that's the bottom line," said O'Gara.

"Our shape is great and we're very close, but we need results now. We need to be gutsy, make decisions and play what's in front of us."

The Munster man has been in superb form this season and says that his motivation and determination remain as strong as ever.

"Here I am, nearly 34, and I'm motivated on the 'B' team running against the first team in training and that's the way it should be. Bring something to it, get something out of it, have some standards yourself," he said.

"I don't want to think about retirement, even though I'm aware that, realistically, I'll hopefully play two more seasons. You want to finish at the top, that's my thinking.

"Two more seasons with Munster and Ireland, although, with Ireland, you'd like to think it's time for another young fella to put his hand up. But then, if I play like I have this season I'd want to be there still," he added.

As for last week's drop goal, which echoed his winning strike for Ireland's Grand Slam in 2009, O'Gara puts it down to self-belief.

"I've always been strong mentally. If you didn't have that self-belief you wouldn't cut it. The new breed believe they are destined to make it as top players and that's a great way to feel.

"But the other side is the disappointment if they don't achieve what they think they are entitled to achieve. No-one is entitled to anything -- you have to work hard for it."

Meanwhile, Peter Stringer has been called into the squad as cover for scrum-half Tomas O'Leary who is nursing a sore back while injured hooker Jerry Flannery is believed to have suffered a setback with his calf.

Irish Independent

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