Wales v Ireland, Six Nations, Millennium Stadium, March 12
Wales praise 'legend' O'Gara
March 11, 2011
Ronan O'Gara is just two points shy of 1,000 in Tests © Getty Images
Wales kicking coach Neil Jenkins has hailed Ronan O'Gara as a 'legend of the game' prior to the Ireland fly-half's bid to notch 1,000 Test points in Cardiff on Saturday.
O'Gara needs only two points to join Jenkins, Diego Dominguez, Dan Carter and Jonny Wilkinson in a select club of international kickers and is odds on to rack up the honour at a ground where he has won a Grand Slam with Ireland and two Heineken Cups with Munster.
"We know how good a player he is," Jenkins said. "We need to be on the ball tomorrow, whether they go for a running or kicking game or a bit of both.
"What can you say about him? He has done everything. I have been lucky to tour with him with the Lions in 2001 and as a kicking coach in 2009. I get on well with him. He is a great bloke and a fantastic rugby player.
"He has achieved everything in the game. He has been on three Lions tours, he has won more than 100 caps, a Grand Slam, Triple Crowns, Heineken Cups. He is a Munster legend, and now he needs just a couple of points for a 1,000.
"If I see him tomorrow I am sure I will have a bit of banter with him, as he is getting close to my number [of points]. He is a legend of the game and a legend of Irish rugby."
The fly-half battle is set to be an intriguing feature of a clash between two evenly-matched sides, with the stoic O'Gara going up against the free-flowing James Hook, who has displaced Stephen Jones.
"I am a massive fan of Stephen - it's a very tight call between these guys," Jenkins said. "Stephen is fantastic. He has 98 caps, two Lions tours, six Lions caps and has done everything in the game. It's touch and go between these guys.
"It's just a change in philosophy, in a sense, as we are looking for a bit more ball in hand and James can play what is in front of him, as can Stephen. They are exceptional players and we are very lucky to have them."
Jonathan Thomas, meanwhile, has been declared fit to take his place on the Wales bench after passing a fitness test on the dead leg he suffered while in Magners League action for the Ospreys last weekend. With Scarlets back-row Rob McCusker also confirmed among the replacements, it means that Wasps No.8 Andy Powell misses out.
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