Lions update: O'Gara laughs off altercation with Jaco van der Westhuyzen
Ronan O’Gara has made light of his full-time spat with Jaco van der Westhuyzen at the end of Tuesday’s fractious encounter between The British & Irish Lions and the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Lions fly-half O’Gara appeared to engage in a shoving match with his opposite number at the conclusion of a game marred by dangerous tackles and off-the-ball incidents.
However, while the Irishman admitted that the pair had clashed, he insisted that all was quickly forgotten.
According to O’Gara, though, Gordon D’Arcy’s spat with De Wet Barry was still a bone of contention.
”Van der Westhuyzen was feisty on the pitch but I’m no angel on the pitch myself so I’d no problem with that,” he admitted.
”But De Wet Barry. He had a cheap shot at D’Arcy so I stuck up for my team-mate. That issue might still be ongoing but I shook hands with Jaco and I’ll move on.”
O’Gara had started the match on the bench but was sprung from it in the first quarter after James Hook took a heavy blow to the head. The Munster number ten played a key role in the victory, kicking 10 points and creating a try for Ugo Monye.
However, he was less than impressed with his own performance and is unsure if he will be given the nod at fly-half for the Lions in Saturday’s first Test against The Springboks.
”I was happy enough with how I played but that game was far removed from Test intensity I don’t really know how much you can read into it.
”My kicking was good but it was difficult to get the phase play going. It was a stop-start game.
”Overall, I was pleased and I’ll sleep well tonight but if I didn’t do enough to get the nod tomorrow morning I’ll just hope to get a seat on the bench and make an impact from there.”
Meanwhile, D’Arcy, a late call-up to the Tour, believes that it is highly unlikely that he will feature in Durban at the weekend but he remains upbeat on his hopes of facing The Boks at a later date.
”I’d be very surprised if I feature in the Test match this week but we’ve got another game next Tuesday, against the Emerging Springboks, so I’ll have to come up with a big performance,” the centre admitted.
”Obviously when you come out on Tour late you’re not on the front foot; you’re not in the immediate running in terms of a Test place.
”But 80 minutes is a long time in rugby. It’s an additional game and the injuries mount up so you always have to be ready to slot into the side at a moment’s notice.
”Just look at today’s game: Shane Williams had to withdraw, Ugo slotted in and scored another try and could end up starting on Saturday.
”So anything can happen. Keith Wood probably gave me the best advice in that regard when he said, ‘don’t lose focus on tour because everything can change in 20 minutes.’”
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