O'Gara: I'll play until I'm 38
March 27, 2012
Ronan O'Gara is determined to continue playing international rugby © Getty Images
Ronan O'Gara has scorched suggestions that he is set to retire from international rugby - describing the idea as "a joke".
The 35-year-old endured a disappointing Six Nations campaign, losing out to Jonathan Sexton in the battle for the No.10 jersey and failing to score any points in the tournament for the first time since it began in 2000. However, the Munster fly-half insists he will continue playing for at least another two years.
"Calls for my retirement ... what a joke given my record over the last few years," O'Gara told the Irish Examiner. "Why should I? Anyone who knows me knows I'll be the first to call retirement when my time is up. And I can assure you my time ain't up. I plan to play for my country until I'm 38 but definitely until I'm 37. Playing is what it is all about. I love playing for Munster, I love playing for Ireland."
O'Gara originally raised the subject of his retirement after Ireland's World Cup win over Australia last October but swiftly back tracked from the comments. And now he is determined to continue playing, with his sights set on Ireland's tour to New Zealand this summer.
"I have never felt better about my rugby," said O'Gara. "I've never worked harder and I am as committed as ever. I'm fitter now than I was five years ago and my work rate in training is higher than it ever was.
"It was torture not starting in the [Six Nations] games. You question everything. But then you have to put it to one side -- it's not as if I could have been playing any better at the time -- and you have to stay professional.
"I continually question myself. Trust me, I will know when it is time for me to retire from international rugby. I'll be honest with myself and there will come a day when I can no longer produce at this level ... that day isn't even close."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
A preview of the 2014-15 Aviva Premiership season as we run the rule over Bath, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers and London Irish
Concussion specialist Dr Ryan Kohler warns of the dangers of pushy parents who want their kids back on the field ahead of time
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes