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Scots Wont Hold Back
8 August 2007, 12:32 pm
By Chris Byrne
For those of us who thought the kerfuffle over the injury to Ronan O'Gara in the RBS Six Nations match against Scotland last match was long forgotten, it's not.
And while the man who suffered most, Ronan O'Gara maintains and always has, a dignified silence, it would appear there in still a bitter after-taste in some Scottish mouths.

Following the incident that saw O'Gara stretched out in distress on the ground, Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan said, "There was an incident on the ground when someone tried to choke O'Gara. Someone had their arm around his neck, cut off his air supply and he went blue. I'd rather not say who it was. I believe it was deliberate, putting your hand around someone's neck and trying to choke them is hard to do by accident.

"I didn't see it because I'm sat in the stands like everyone else and he was at the bottom of a ruck with people on top of him. When the ruck broke up Ronan had gone blue and was losing consciousness. The doctor came on, checked his air supply was clear and he started breathing again. It's an unfortunate incident but it happened."

A subsequent report from the match commissioner's failed to support the Irish coaches view - "there were no citable acts of foul play during the Scotland v Ireland game and specifically at the end of the match" the report stated and O'Sullivan's post-match accusation caused fury in Scottish circles.

It would seem that time has not proven to be a healer with Nathan Hines reported to still be contemptuous at the way the charge was levelled, "It's all very well to say (as O'Sullivan effectively has) 'Well I've said it, but let's forget about it.' It was a serious allegation. I was disappointed by it, but wasn't really worried," he said yesterday. "There's always the question why, but I can't answer that and neither can you (media) guys."

Hines refuses to be cowed by the incident and has promised that he will go in with the same attitude this time, determined to be as physical as is permitted within the laws of the game. "I'd be doing a disservice to myself and my team if I didn't. I call it being competitive, although I'll admit that maybe sometimes I'm a little bit too competitive.

"I don't want teams coming here thinking Oh it's just a Scottish team we can bully them'. The thing that kept us in the match against Ireland earlier in the year was our defence and how it muscled up. I don't think we let them into the game with our D'. If we can hold that level again and cut out on the number of mistakes we made in that game then we should go well."

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