O'Gara denies retirement plan
September 21, 2011
O'Gara insists an interview was misinterpreted © Getty Images
Ronan O'Gara insists he has no intention of retiring from Test rugby after the World Cup, declaring only "losers" walk away when confronted by a challenge.
The Ireland fly-half suggested in a television interview after Saturday's stunning 15-6 victory over Australia that his 11-year international career was almost over. "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.
O'Gara clarified his comments by stating that he was referring to the end of the World Cup and not his own position. The 34-year-old - the oldest member of the squad - has lost his place as first choice fly-half to Leinster's Jonathan Sexton.
"Retirement has crossed my mind plenty of times over the last few years," he said. "There are plenty of thoughts in your head when you're disappointed but it's losers who quit when things aren't going so well for them.
"Retirement hasn't entered my head seriously in that regard. I'm a fighter and I'll keep fighting until the end. I'm not sure when that is. Playing for Ireland means so much you don't walk away from the team until it's right. You take advice from people you respect on that front. I'm not at that stage yet."
O'Gara is adamant the meaning of his words during the interview were misinterpreted. "On Saturday I was speaking in the context of being done with Ireland in six or seven weeks' time in terms of this World Cup," he said. "I said I'm done with Ireland in a few weeks and there are different interpretations of that.
"It was a great night, one of my best nights. I was so proud to be part of the team. From my point of view, when you set goals as a professional player everything ends with the World Cup final.
"That's where I stand at the minute. It's important for me to put an end to this because it's a distraction the team don't need. In my own head I'll reassess at the end of the World Cup. But I want to be part of this team because it's a great team at the moment.
"It's about being part of an Ireland team that will do itself justice in the competition and give the supporters at home something they deserve."
O'Gara has kicked 1,039 points for Ireland during his 113-cap career. He made his debut in 2000 and has been on three Lions tours, and could yet reclaim the No.10 jersey given Sexton's unconvincing performances against the United States and Australia so far this month.
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