It was the late Garrett Fitzgerald who made Munster one of the world’s best rugby clubs and instilled the values that forged lifelong bonds between former Munster players, according to Ronan O’Gara.
Don’t mention the war? It would be nice not to have to but Ireland’s Six Nations opener takes place in the engorging shadow of last autumn’s ill-starred Asian campaign. Yes, we won’t be forgetting the debacle in Vietnam – sorry, I mean Japan – any time soon. The horror, the horror remains fresh in the memory.
There is no disguising the links that have bonded Munster and Racing 92 since Ronan O’Gara began his coaching journey in Paris in 2013. Donnacha Ryan, Simon Zebo, and Mike Prendergast have since found their way to the Top 14 outfit while the relationship between the European rivals has also been strengthened on a deeper emotional level by the tragic and sudden death of Anthony Foley in the city i
With qualification for the knockout phase secured after an Ireland performance more in keeping with what we have come to expect from this squad, the only outstanding issue surrounded the not insignificant detail as to whom Ireland would meet in their quarter-final in Tokyo next weekend.
Not that Ireland haven’t enough to be getting on with, but there was little evidence in Scotland’s 34-0 defeat of Samoa in Kobe today that Gregor Townsend’s men are ready to rain on Japan’s World Cup parade come their decisive Pool A clash at the World Cup on Sunday October 13th.
“New Zealand are not the standout like years gone by. South Africa are now; I think we all had that feeling, it was coming, at the right time. Just because I know (Michael) Cheika, Australia will get their act together but there is only so much they can do and they have a lot of issues.
Ronan O’Gara, speaking at the Irish Examiner Rugby World Cup Tournament Preview last Monday, has said there are “question marks” over the make-up of New Zealand’s best backline, as Steve Hansen’s side prepare for their Pool B showdown against South Africa on Saturday.
When Diarmuid Connolly sat back into the pocket, setting himself up for power fade with the outside of his right boot, in a similar way to Ronan O’Gara and the Grand Slam drop goal over a decade ago, I thought perhaps the story was written in the stars for the prodigal son to return home with the fattened calf.