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Ireland dismiss O'Gara retirement talk
ESPNscrum Staff
September 22, 2011
Ireland's Ronan O'Gara celebrates with his Man of the Match medal, Scotland v Ireland, Six Nations, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, February 27, 2011
O'Gara has over 100 caps to his name for Ireland © Getty Images
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Ireland are confident that fly-half Ronan O'Gara has no plans to end his international Test career.

On Wednesday O'Gara attempted to end doubt over his international future by saying comments he had made after the 15-6 victory over Australia were misinterpreted. "I'm done with Ireland in a few weeks. I've had a great time in this jersey but I want this to be the biggest time," he told RTE at Eden Park on Saturday.

The British & Irish Lions fly-half, who is contracted to the Irish Rugby Football Union until 2013, stated that he was referring to the end of the World Cup and not his own position. But his explanation was ambiguous with his claim that only "losers" quit when faced by a challenge tempered by the words "in my own head I'll reassess at the end of the World Cup".

Team manager Paul McNaughton, however, declared the matter closed. "As far as we're concerned, he's confirmed that retirement wasn't on the agenda. We're happy with that," he said. "Based on what he said yesterday it was never on the agenda. I think he was definitive.

"After the World Cup a fresh four-year cycle begins. A number of players have said this will be their last World Cup based on their age. Over the next four years you're going to have a cycle of retirements of players and an emergence of young players, that's the natural cycle.

"Guys will assess after the World Cup as Ronan said, but we've had no indication from any players about impending retirements. It's not an issue."

McNaughton refused to comment on what impact any decision not to play for Ireland would have on O'Gara's contract saying: "The contracts for all players in Ireland, not just Ronan's, are to play for their province and national side. That's part of the terms."

The prospect of Paul O'Connell, Gordon D'Arcy and Tommy Bowe playing in Sunday's Pool C clash with Russia looks bleak after the trio sustained injuries against Australia. "Paul and Gordon had scans on their hamstrings while Tommy had a scan on his calf strain," said McNaughton. "Those three players remain under treatment. If they are to be considered for the game on Sunday they need to train tomorrow.

"At the moment that looks doubtful, but no decision over their participation will be made until after training."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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