ROG shoots his mouth off Epsiode #473

After Ireland’s win against Australia in the World Cup, Ronan O’Gara came out to meet the media, and said he’d be retiring after the tournament.  Of course, he had no intention of doing so.  It was a brazen attempt to draw attention to himself at a time when he was out of the starting team – as Fangio put it, ‘Forget about the team, let’s talk about me.’
Well, he’s at it again.  The latest interview with Hugh Farrelly of Dolphin Charlie George of the Echo Terry Reilly of the Examiner has all the hallmarks of ROG doing what ROG does – his bidding in public.  He’s now gone for a complete U-turn from his World Cup antics – this time he’s saying he’s going to play for ever and ever and ever.  Or at least until he’s 38.  Even if Deccie did choose not to select Rog, you’re left with the impression that if he’ll just turn up anyway.
He’s pretty chuffed with his own form is ROG, and why not?  After all, he’s had a fine season with Munster, driving them to the knockout stages with some late-late dramatics for show.  He clearly still has it.  But truth be told, his Six Nations didn’t really catch fire, and in his cameo appearances he didn’t do a huge amount of note.  Against Italy his only contributions were to miss touch with a penalty and throw a pass to nobody.  Besides, anyone who saw the physical shifts demanded of Jonny Sexton and Owen Farrell will quickly realise that the test arena is no place for 38-year old fly-halves with defensive shortcomings.

Anyway, go on:

“I concentrated on making the most of the opportunities I got, be that five minutes, 20 minutes or 25 minutes and I always felt that I was maybe five minutes away from getting the start. I was coming in with 20 minutes to go and doing well. In my mind the time had to come when I would be given the chance to win matches with 80 minutes.”

“It was gut-wrenching. I especially thought I would start the Wales game given I was the incumbent”

Never mind that the game he was incumbent for didn’t actually go especially well. This is the latest in a line of such interviews by O’Gara.  Mid-Six Nations he appeared to undermine the meritocracy of team selection by suggesting that Sexton was only selected to give him confidence and build for the future.  At this stage, ROG’s constant courting of the media spotlight is becoming tiresome.
It’s a pretty unedifying spectacle to see Ireland’s record cap-holder and the greatest fly-half of the professional era having to resort to his media chums to exhort the coach to select him. When you see ageing sports stars raging against the dying of the light, it can begin to smack of desperation – witness Brett Favre’s embarrassing denouement in Minnesota, or Michael Schumacher trundling around the track in his Mercedes, insisting his talent can drag it to the front of the grid. And Farmer Farrelly’s lapdog impression is also quite undignified.

“Even with the torment that I have experienced in the last few months, I know that there is more to my international story.”

No other player, in or out of the team, feels the need to give these sort of ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ interviews.  Imagine if Sexton described his ‘torment’ at not making the starting team, or if Rob Kearney spent an interview talking about how he was playing ‘above international level’.  They would be savaged, and rightly so.  If ROG is playing as well as he says he is, why not just let his boots do the talking?  We all know he can continue to make a contribution – just get on with it.

In a week when two great Irish internationals were forced to retire due to injury, it’s increasingly a luxury to be able to retire on your own terms, as Quinny pointed out on Wednesday.  It’s something O’Gara would do well to bear in mind.
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15 Comments

  1. My tongue is full of scars from biting it when I see or read a ROG interview. If ever a player in any sport needed to let their game do the talking…

  2. I would be worried that he is poisoning the atmosphere of the Ireland changing room if Kidney hadn't already done so,

  3. Brett Farve took Minnesota to the NFC Championship game, which he should have won, only to be knocked out in overtime by a disgraced organisation who tried to kill him on the night for money! He went on one more season too many alright and the hits got to him, but no disgrace.

  4. rog may be getting on but at least he is willing to play for his country whole heartily unlike some who played for Ireland this six nations !I imagine we will see an unbelievable improvement in some leinster players this weekend Heaslip for example

  5. Think lads the original interview was with the Irish Examiner (Terry Reilly). Farelly and whoever else have just cogged his interview. I suggest you have a look at the Examiner articles (x2).I'm surprised you would think that Radge would have anything to do with an Indo journalist anyway. And its laughable you'd think that a Con player would be doing favours for an ex-Dolphin player at that.

  6. "It was gut-wrenching. I especially thought I would start the Wales game given I was the incumbent" I suppose this line of reasoning is not surprising given Declan Kidney's selection policy i.e. you started a game, you'll almost certainly start the next one. I'm sorry ROG, but even Deccie knows you were shoite in that game.

  7. Glad someone has written a piece on this. For years I've given up reading ROG's interviews. No one blows his own trumpet like ROG. A class player but the self-absorbed interviews are painful. The silver lining is that Sexton looks like he has sorted his head out while wearing green and nailed down the 10 shirt.

  8. This article is typical of the Irish and there opinion of there sports players. Surely a player such Ronan O'Gara should be appreciated for as long as he wants to play the game and not still have to deal with people considering him useless. Ronan O'Gara comes across as an honest talker and a gentleman in his interviews. Also, through the years of the Heineken Cup, let alone this season, he has been an amazing player. Being a Northampton fan and experiencing what I have in Limerick over the years with the happy, content, appreciative Munster fan on the street, will try my best to get to see O'Gara and company playing european rugby over the next two weekends.

  9. @Anon1 the Favre farrago in Minnesota was a bit embarrassing, the whole "I can't retire and let down the VIkings fans", despite being a Packer. I feel the last 3 years of his career will sully his legacy, fairly or not…@RadgeFan Yeah, we heard there was a bit of difficulty about crediting the original interview – we heard it was with Charlie George, but we can defer to your Ribil expertise. This interview-cogging business is most unusual. I hear you on Dolphin/Con, but surely the Cork clubs have a mutual antipathy for non-Cork, and non-Munster, clubs! (jk). [Just hearing in my earpiece that the Examiner in fact cogged the article from the West Cork Scouts Gazette… will we ever get to the bottom of this?!]@RhubardSticks I have to say, some of Rog's interviews down the years were key landmarks in Irish rugby's development. Going in front of the Sky cameras before a game in Welford Road and saying that he doesn't accept English players are better than Irish ones, and then delivering, is an example here. His contemporaries, BOD and POC, would never have done that, yet it was equally as important as some of their interventions, albeit in a different way. But at the same time, I don't think it’s hypocritical to appreciate this stuff when it’s directed outside the team grouping, but resent it when it’s directed inside. Take Austin Healey in 2001 for example, even Healey fans appreciated his writings didn't help the Lions team dynamic.@Anon2 No doubt the Irish psyche gets its back up as soon as we hear someone talking themselves up. But as per the point above, you can appreciate a player (and be a fan) yet castigate behaviour you think is unbecoming. Rog is indeed an honest talker, and a real gentleman and nice guy in person, but I don't think this particulalarly helpful to the dynamic of a team which is clearly struggling through a rebuilding phase (of sorts). We, as much as you, hope to see Rog do his talking on the pitch. Well, being an Ulster fan, I hope his talking get drowned out by Ruan Pienaar's on-pitch-talking, but that is nitpicking!

  10. @ Anon 2 (March 29, 2012 9:14 PM)How can you play "whole-heartily" when you chicken out of driving into every 2nd tackle and just bump yourself off the opposition?

  11. @Anons Constructive comments only please – anonymous tiresome parochial provincial point-scoring comments will be deleted

  12. egg-chaser: I wasn't picking you up on who was credited for the interview, I was hoping you would actually read the two pieces in the Examiner which seem to be a bit more extensive than the cherry-picked jobbies you used. For instance, you refer to him as saying that he was "playing above international level" he was referring to his fitness levels which is very obvious from the examiner article (and considering his age, and why people think he should be retiring), is very pertinent. I also think you are far too judgemental on how critical a senior player like O'Gara can be. Jerry Flannery said in an interview on that one of the things that he finds difficult moving from rugby life to real life is that you can't be as brutally honest/critical of your work mates as they are with each other in Munster.Finally, according to the Irish Times today, its all good with Sexto – ROG's twins have invited him to their 4th Birthday party (because he gave them Easter eggs)!Anon 2 (@9.14 above). Be glad your not an Ulster fan then – Ian Humphreys runs away from tackles.

  13. @radge fan – fair enough, we'll have a read (we must confess the examiner is not a paper we read too regularly). Regarding honesty/criticism, we all know succesful rugby dresssing rooms are brutally honest, that's not in question. But taking it to the public arena is a different matter altogether.I wouldn't doubt all is well with he and Sexto. We don't think he's de-railing the team, we're not outraged per se and we're not calling for his retirement or anything like that. We're just saying that his media-courting has become a bit tiresome and unedifying.PS. iHumph may be a speedbump but he has a 100% HEC record at Thomond Park! :)PPS. Good luck in the match on saturday night – may the best team win and all that.

  14. @ Radge fanI am an ulster fan… but I've not been daft enough to say the iHumph plays whole heartily. :-DiHumph's "performance" against Cardiff a few weeks back was embarrassing. [Palla – I don't even know if I'd label iHumph a speedbump – speedbumps don't jump out of the road of cars!]

  15. Anonymous

     /  April 3, 2012

    ROG has the last laugh – who has been shouting their mouths off now!

    According to Brian O’Driscoll in today’s irish times, ROG (like him) is peed off with being asked about when he is going to retire, so he decided to tell the press it would be 38. The whole squad must be rolling around the place laughing at all the leinster fans getting overly excited by what ROG has to say.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2012/0403/1224314296144.html

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