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Ronan O'Gara
Ronan O Gara.jpg
O'Gara playing for Munster in a Heineken Cup match against Perpignan.
Personal information
Full name Ronan John Ross O'Gara
Date of birth 7 March 1977 (1977-03-07) (age 33)
Place of birth San Diego, California, U.S.
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 13 st 1 lb (83 kg)
Nickname ROG (pronounced Rodge)
School Presentation Brothers College, Cork
University University College Cork
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Fly-half
Amateur clubs
University College Cork
Cork Constitution
Clubs played for
Years Club / team Caps Points
Professional / senior clubs
1997-present Munster 165+8 (1896,
14 tr)
National team(s)
2000-present

2001, 2005, 2009
Ireland

British and Irish Lions
95
(950,
14 tr)
2 (0)
correct as of 2010-02-15.

Ronan John Ross O'Gara (born 7 March 1977 in San Diego, California) is an Irish rugby union rugby player, occupying the fly-half position for both Munster and Ireland. He is the highest point scorer in both Munster and Irish history and has played for, and captained, the British and Irish Lions.

Contents

Early life

O'Gara was born in San Diego where his father, Fergal, was working as a professor of microbiology and who was also a wing for the UCG club in Connacht. He was educated at Presentation Brothers College, Cork and won a Junior Cup medal in 1992 and a Senior Cup medal in 1995. He attended UCC and won an All-Ireland Under-20 medal in 1996. He graduated with a B.A. and Masters Degree in Business Economics in 1999.[1]

Munster

O'Gara's last minute conversion against Gloucester on 18 January 2003 helped Munster to a 27-point victory which took them through to the Heineken Cup quarter final; this match has become etched into Munster Rugby's folklore as the Miracle Match.

He played a key part in Munster's Heineken Cup winning team of 2006. On 20 May 2006, O'Gara kicked 13 points in Munster's historic first Heineken Cup Final victory over Biarritz in Cardiff.[2]

On 21 October 2006, O'Gara kicked a last minute penalty from inside his own half to hand Munster a 21-19 victory over the Leicester Tigers in the first round of the pool stages at Welford Road.

He played a key part in Munster's Heineken Cup winning team of 2008.[3] On 19 January 2008 O'Gara captained Munster to beat the London Wasps in their final pool match of the 2008 Heineken Cup, knocking the incumbent champions out and making it through to quarter finals of the cup for the tenth consecutive season. On 24 May 2008, O'Gara won his second Heineken Cup medal as Munster beat French team Toulouse 16-13 scoring 11 points.

O'Gara scored a penalty with three minutes left to beat Montauban in the first game of the 2008-09 Heineken Cup and the first Heineken cup game in the new Thomond Park.[4] On 13 December 2008, O'Gara became the first and only player to amass over 1,000 points in the Heineken Cup, as he scored a last minute conversion against Clermont to bring his total points from 999 to 1001.

O'Gara is noted for his tactical and goal kicking and distribution ability and is regarded as one the most reliable fly-halfs in the world. However his defence has been questioned in the past as has his individual running game. That said he has scored more tries for Ireland than any other outhalf in history. As of 3 February 2009, O'Gara holds the record Heineken Cup points total (1,017) from 81 appearances. He also holds the record for the most goal kicks with 359. He has become also become Munster's highest points scorer, having scored 1725 points (1695 first grade), as of 3 February 2009.

Ireland

He was selected for his first Irish International cap in the Six Nations Championship against Scotland in February 2000. O'Gara scored all of Ireland's trys in their 18-9 win over Australia at Lansdowne Road in the Autumn Tests of 2002. He was a member of Ireland's 2003 Rugby World Cup squad.

O'Gara scored all of Ireland's points in a 17-12 win over the South Africa Springboks at Lansdowne Road on 13 November 2004. Two weeks later, on 27 November, O'Gara kicked a last-minute drop goal to give Ireland a 21-19 victory over Argentina. As in the Springboks Test, O'Gara scored all of Ireland's points. O'Gara won the man-of-the-match awards against both South Africa and Argentina. In 2004, he was named RTE Sports Person of the Year.

In 2006 O'Gara overtook David Humphreys as Ireland's highest points scorer. The same season, he won the Triple Crown with Ireland in the Six Nations.

On 11 February 2007, O'Gara scored the first Irish international try at Croke Park in the Six Nations loss to France. On 10 March 2007, O'Gara once again scored all of Ireland's points to win the Triple Crown at Murrayfield, Edinburgh versus Scotland by 19-18. On 24 August 2007, in Ireland's final 2007 Rugby World Cup warm-up against Italy at Ravenhill in Belfast, O'Gara scored and converted a controversial try nine minutes into stoppage time, winning the match 23-20 after Italy had taken the lead with a stoppage-time try. O'Gara finished the match with 18 points. He was a member of Ireland's 2007 Rugby World Cup squad.

On 9 February 2008, O'Gara became the eighth player in history to score 800 Test points, reaching the mark in Ireland's loss to France in the Six Nations. On 11 March 2008, O'Gara was named as Ireland team captain for the first time in his career, leading the side in the Six Nations match against England at Twickenham.

On 14 March 2009 O'Gara overtook Johnny Wilkinson to become the top Six-nations point scorer ever. In 2009, he scored a late drop goal to beat Wales and win Ireland their first Grand Slam for 61 years.[5] This was also O'Gara's fourth Triple Crown win.

O'Gara is also the sixth highest points scorer in the history of international rugby and on March 14, 2009 became the all-time highest scorer in the Six Nations, scoring from a penalty against Scotland in the 15-22 win at Murrayfield Stadium.[6]. He currently holds a total of 520 points.

British and Irish Lions

He toured with the Lions on their tours to Australia in 2001, and New Zealand in 2005 but did not play in any of the test matches on these tours.[7]

On 21 April 2009, O'Gara was named as a member of the British and Irish Lions for the 2009 tour to South Africa.[8] On 30 May 2009, O' Gara scored 22 points including a try in the opening match of the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa against the Royal XV. On 23 June, he led out the midweek side in a draw against the Emerging Springboks team to become the fourth Irish man to captain the Lions on the 2009 Tour [9] On 27 June, he made an appearance in the second test match after he came on as a substitute. O'Gara missed a tackle during the Lion's second test versus South Africa, which contributed to South Africa scoring a try. He also conceded a seventy-ninth minute penalty with the scores level, when he collided with the airborne South African scrum-half Fourie du Preez, thus interfering with a player in the air. Morne Steyn scored the penalty, and thus won the match—which otherwise would have resulted in a draw—and the series for the springboks.[10]

Personal life

On 9 October 2008 he published 'Ronan O'Gara: My Autobiography'. It was co-written by Denis Walsh, chief sports-writer with the Irish edition of The Sunday Times.[11] On 11 October 2008, Ronan and wife Jessica had twins - a boy and a girl called Rua and Molly in Cork University Maternity Hospital.[12]

References

  1. ^ "O'Gara not short on confidence". BBC Sport. 2001-01-25. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/in_depth/2001/six_nations/ireland/1136770.stm. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  2. ^ "Munster 23-19 Biarritz". BBC Sport. 2006-05-20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/european/4998452.stm. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  3. ^ "2008 Heineken Cup final". BBC Sport. 2008-05-24. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/7408444.stm. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  4. ^ "The Irish Times". The Irish Times. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2008/1011/1223676792915.html. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  5. ^ "2009 Six Nations". BBC Sport. 2009-03-22. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/7954758.stm. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  6. ^ Hodgetts, Rob (2009-03-14). "2009 Six Nations". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/7941772.stm. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  7. ^ "Munster Profile". Munster Rugby. http://www.munsterrugby.ie/8330_8333.php?player=3902&includeref=dynamic. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  8. ^ "British & Irish Lions tour squad announced". The British and Irish Lions official website. 2009-04-21. http://www.lionsrugby.com/7404.php. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  9. ^ http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/rugby-news/2009/06/24/emerging-springboks-13-british-and-irish-lions-13-86908-21467117/
  10. ^ "O'Gara concedes penalty that wins series for South Africa". RTÉ Ireland. 2009-06-28. http://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/lions/2009/0627/lions_southafrica_secondtest.html. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  11. ^ "Ronan O'Gara: End of the world, and we knew it". The Irish Times. 2008-09-28 (page 4). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/rugby_union/article4836947.ece?token=null&offset=36&page=4. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  12. ^ "O'Gara adds twins to his home team". The Irish Independent. 2008-10-13. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/ogara-adds-twins-to-his-home-team-1497235.html?start=3. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 

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