RONAN O’GARA has admitted he was relieved not to win his 100th Ireland cap as a late replacement against Australia during the summer.
Fly-half O’Gara, 33, is in line to reach his century of international appearances during next month’s autumn series of Tests against South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina.
He will vie with Leinster’s Jonny Sexton for the starting number 10 jersey against the Springboks on November 6 at the Aviva Stadium, having lost the berth to the 25-year-old in Ireland’s most recent match, the one-off Test against Australia, a 22-15 defeat at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in June.
Recounting sitting on the bench with 99 caps to his name, O’Gara said: “I didn’t want to come on for 10 minutes at the end of the Australia game to win it (his 100th cap). When it was a one-score game and there was 20 minutes to go I was asked to warm up but once it got to 12 minutes to go I didn’t want to do it that way.
“It wasn’t my call. It could have been interesting if it did become my call but at this stage, I just want to win it.”
O’Gara will return to Magners League action against Benetton Treviso at Thomond Park tonight after a tumultuous start to the Heineken Cup campaign which saw Munster defeated at London Irish and then get back on track with a barnstorming 45-18 Thomond Park victory over Toulon.
O’Gara insisted there had been no panic in the Munster camp following back-to-back defeats on the road at Leinster in the Magners League and then London Irish, but, equally, he was not getting carried away by the six-try rout of Toulon.
“I think there’s been an over-reaction to that performance. Things were good but they weren’t as good as the press are making out. And they weren’t as bad in the London Irish game.
“It’s about appraising and analysing the performance and getting accurate information and working on that. That’s what’s been really impressive about the Munster coaching staff this year. They’ve given three or four focal points from each game to improve.”
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