Ireland plead with O’Gara not to quit

IRELAND chiefs are planning a last-ditch effort to talk Ronan O’Gara out of retirement, after the fly-half revealed his intention to quit post-World Cup.

O’Gara made his admission after coming off the bench to kick two penalties in Ireland’s superb 15-6 win over Australia on Saturday.

But team manager Paul McNaughton: “Ronan hasn’t talked formally to us about it. There’s no doubt he still has something to offer the team after the World Cup.

“He’s contracted for the next couple of years. Undoubtedly [coach] Declan Kidney and the management will be encouraging him to stay on. He’s a very, very important part of the set-up here.”

The 34-year-old, who has kicked 1,039 points during a 113-cap career for his country, had said: “I’m done with Ireland in a few weeks. I’ve had a great time in this jersey but I want this to be the biggest time. It’s a great team, a great bunch of lads and it means a lot to us.”

O’Gara was cited as a key figure in Saturday’s triumph over the Wallabies at Eden Park by captain Brian O’Driscoll.

“There’s never been a shortage of drive in these guys. It’s innate,” said O’Driscoll.

“I’m not going to question the drive or desire in players like Ronan O’Gara because I’ve seen it for 10 years. It’s also in the younger guys – you can see it in players like Sean O’Brien and the Stephen Ferris.”