O’Gara reveals despair after Paris defeat

RONAN O’GARA revealed yesterday the level of anguish he has experienced since Saturday’s crushing defeat to France in Paris claiming he has not ‘felt like this for a long time.’

And he admitted that after the opening 20 minutes at Stade de France “the game controlled me as opposed to me controlling the game.”

On his website diary (www.ronanogara.ie/diary/latest) the out-half was still deflated yesterday, 48 hours after the 33-10 hammering to Marc Lièvremont side.

“I have not felt like this for a long time. I am struggling to get over this defeat and at Monday lunchtime the pain seems to be getting worse. I have little idea how other people viewed our performance but I am hurting badly.”

He said the Grand Slam champions were confident ahead of their second outing of their title defence as they went in search of their first win in the French capital since 2000.

O’Gara said: “I left the team meeting on Saturday in great form and really excited, with the words “invest in our legacy” to the forefront of my mind.

“I thought we played really well for the first 20 minutes and I had control of the game. Games at this level are decided by the smallest of margins and, with that in mind, failing to register points of any kind during that spell was to prove very costly.

“It is an entirely different game if we go 7-0 up or even if we score just before half time. What everybody should remember is that you get 80 minutes to make an impact and to talk afterwards is the easy thing to do.

“We failed to beat France over the 80 minutes and to the players that is the most disappointing thing.

“When things are not going according to plan, we, as players, must act and try to improve things. This is very difficult and we failed to do so.”

Despite the pained bodies and minds in the losing dressing room after the game, O’Gara managed to find some positives ahead of the trip to face England at Twickenham on February 27.

“The mood in the dressing room on Saturday night was low but I was impressed with the honesty of some of the boys. Some comments were made to me which epitomised why these players have the careers they have and why they have experienced success.

“We have two choices now… either stay down and feel sorry for ourselves or learn from Saturday and come back stronger. I think ye know what route I’ll be taking.”

And what of his own performances where his defensive play was under the spotlight?

O’Gara stressed: “I was able to sleep well after the match. I had given my all and tried my heart out and was empty when replaced. It was a far from perfect and my missed tackle on my opposite number was a bad error. After the first 20 minutes I think the game controlled me as opposed to me controlling the game. There are a number of factors contributing to that with the key point being that France were on top up front.

“I gave it my all and am happy where my game is at the moment. As a result of this my head is in a very good place and looking forward to the English game.”


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