herald

Friday 15 December 2017

O'Gara scorns claim Ireland peaked in second Test

RONAN O'GARA has shrugged off New Zealand coach Steve Hansen's comments after Ireland's narrow second Test defeat.

O'Gara featured as a replacement in the first and second Tests and could resume fly-half duties if Jonathan Sexton is moved to inside centre in place of the injured Gordon D'Arcy.

And he is not reading too much into Hansen's claim that Ireland reached their peak during their 22-19 loss in Christchurch, when Dan Carter kicked a late winning drop goal with his side down to 14 men after Israel Dagg was sin-binned.

O'Gara said: "A lot of that, you can read into it after an event. You could say that it is condescending but I don't think it was meant like that. We all speak with emotions sometimes and that was what Steve felt at the time. I would have no problem with that."

O'Gara revealed that Ireland's poor performance in the first Test at Eden Park, when they lost 42-10, had shaken the squad but he was pleased with their response. "Ireland did play well the other night," he said.

"The All Blacks were probably in second gear and they had every reason to be in second gear because of the way we played at Eden Park. It is only natural.

"Steve was probably relieved to get over the finish line as you could see an edge to them."

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