Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

O'Gara: Munster can still mix it

Ronan O'Gara believes Munster have proven they are still a force to be reckoned with in European rugby.

Ronan O'Gara believes Munster have proven they are still a force to be reckoned with in European rugby following the impressive fashion in which they reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup. The 2006 and 2008 champions faced questions over whether they are a fading force after losing to Leinster last week in the Magners League, but the Irish side res- ponded with an emphatic 33-19 victory over Northampton on Saturday, which was inspired by O'Gara, to set up a last-four Heineken Cup appointment with Biarritz next month.

"It's a different competition and that's the key point. This is our competition which we thrive on and we love," said the Ireland fly-half. "Look at our record in it - we have consistently produced and that's a fact. It's not up for dispute. Now we're in a semi-final and we're knocking on the door once again. "That's what pleases me so much - that consistency year to year. It's all we could ask of ourselves."

Victory was secured without Paul O'Connell, their captain, who was a late withdrawal because of a groin injury. O'Gara stepped into the breach, providing crucial leadership in the final quarter when his pinpoint aerial bombardment of the touchlines ground Saints into submission. "It was a huge game for us. We were under pressure because we were coming into the match on the back of a defeat," O'Gara said.

"We put a lot of effort into Leinster but came up short. After that you're never too sure what will happen. What's pleasing is we have a cup mentality that brings out the best in us. It's only one game but it was an important one." In yesterday's action, Toulouse thrashed Stade Francais 42-16 to take their place in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Danny Cipriani, the England fly-half, admitted he is coming under pressure from his London Wasps teammates to stay at the club and not head to Australia next season.

Cipriani has signed a two-year deal with the Melbourne Rebels to play in the expanded Super 15 next season and he showed Wasps exactly what they will be missing by scoring 17 points and having a hand in four of Wasps' five tries as they beat Gloucester 42-26 to reach the Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals yesterday. Cipriani said: "After days like that you do receive some taps on the shoulder to stay. If we win a few trophies, you never know.

Elsewhere, the Free State Cheetahs will have to do without Kabamba Floors for the remainder of the Super 14 season after the No 8 was hit with a five-week suspension yesterday. Floors was cited by SANZAR citing commissioner Scott Nowland for his dangerous tackle on the CA Brumbies full-back Julian Huxley in the 77th minute of the South African team's 61-15 defeat at the Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

Dennis Wheelahan, the SANZAR judicial officer, heard the case and upheld the charge. The length of the suspension is seen as serving as a deterrent, given the increasing number of dangerous tackles that have been seen in Super 14 rugby this term. * Compiled by Graham Caygill, with agencies

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National