'O'Gara could return for Ireland'
March 4, 2013
It seems unlikely that Ronan O'Gara will call the shots for Ireland again © Getty Images
Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss and team manager Mick Kearney have denied that Ronan O'Gara's Test career is over.
O'Gara was omitted from Ireland's squad ahead of the weekend's clash with France in Dublin despite question marks surrounding first choice fly-half Jonathan Sexton's fitness. With Sexton absent, Paddy Jackson was given the nod against Scotland in their round three loss but ahead of France, Declan Kidney has opted to draft in Ian Madigan in place of O'Gara.
At the start of the Six Nations it seemed that O'Gara was Ireland's second choice fly-half and was present on the bench for their first two matches against Wales and England. But after his performance against Scotland, it seems that he has drifted to fourth choice and following his omission from the squad on Sunday, some suggested that his time with Ireland was at an end.
Kiss, however, denied these suggestions. "Ronan continues to provide value whenever he's around the camp. I have every faith that he will put his hand up and say 'I'm still part of this picture'," Kiss said. "That's how I see him responding at this stage. Without a doubt he'll be disappointed, but nothing's finished yet and he could be back in the picture pretty quickly."
And these views have been echoed by Kearney. He added: "I don't think this marks the end of Ronan's international career. There's still every possibility that he may be involved again. By leaving him out of the squad for France, it certainly wasn't Declan's intention that he was writing off his international career. That's not the case at all.
"It's a selection call. Declan spoke to Ronan yesterday. He wanted to give Ronan advance warning of what his thinking would be. If Ronan had come in he'd have been running in the centre or on the wing. Out of respect, Declan didn't want him to do that. It wasn't that we were signalling the end of his career, there's still a decent possibility that Ronan will be involved before the end of the Six Nations."
Sexton is still in the mix to face France on Saturday but Kearney described his chances as 50-50. They are also waiting on the fitness of Donnacha Ryan and Craig Gilroy but Mike McCarthy should be fit.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9