O'Gara needed wake-up call
Ronan O'Gara admits his demotion as Ireland's first choice fly-half last autumn forced him to address his loss in form.
Last Updated: 10/02/10 11:46am
Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara has revealed that his below-par displays in the autumn forced him to address his loss in form ahead of the RBS Six Nations.
O'Gara will continue in the number 10 jersey for Saturday's Six Nations clash with France in Paris despite first-choice fly-half Jonathan Sexton returning to near full fitness.
It will be O'Gara's second start since losing his place to Sexton for the 15-10 victory over South Africa in November.
The Munster veteran took his chance with a near-immaculate display in last Saturday's 29-11 victory over Italy, in which he kicked 16 points without missing a shot at goal.
"It hurts when you're dropped. It's very disappointing, especially when you care about the team so much," said O'Gara.
"When it happens you try to see where you can make improvements.
"You look at yourself harder but usually your first reaction is to try and blame other people and not yourself.
"When you're dropped there's no need to panic. I had to go away, sort things out and come back.
"I think I've been playing well this season, though I didn't goalkick well. That's a fact and you have to be criticised for these things.
"I needed to address that and that's what I did. I was happy in my own head, even when things weren't going so well.
"Small things at this level make a big difference, there was nothing big that needed changing."
A clearer picture should emerge on Wednesday as to whether Sexton will be available to face the Six Nations favourites.
The 24-year-old from Leinster missed the opener against Italy with a dead leg but has been included among an extended bench and coach Declan Kidney is confident he will be fit.
"Jon has been making a good recovery and the final stage of that should be achieved today when he goes place kicking," said Kidney.
"We're in the lucky position of having two good fly-halves and Ronan's experience will be more than helpful going to Paris."