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O' Gara Disappointed in Lack of Test Action
7 July 2005, 4:07 pm
Munster's out half Ronan O' Gara has expressed his disappointment in a lack of chances to push for a starting Test berth with Sir Clive Woodward's side

Munster out half Ronan O' Gara has expressed his disappointment in a lack of chances to push for a starting Test berth with Sir Clive Woodward's side writes Paul Abbandonato in the Western Mail.

The 28-year-old has been left kicking his heels after seeing Wales pivot Stephen Jones get the nod for the first Test, while England World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson was picked for the second Test in Wellington.

"In 2001 I was a rookie with the Lions on the tour of Australia, so didn't really expect a lot. But this time I have got a lot more caps and experience behind me and I thought I would at least get a chance," said the disappointed O' Gara, who has been capped 52 times for his country.

"But Stephen played in the first (Test) and Jonny obviously got selected for the second Test to leave me missing out.

"The only thing I was hoping for was to get an opportunity and try and grab it."

O' Gara's cause wasn't helped in the opening game of the tour when he missed a couple of crucial tackles that led to tries for Bay of Plenty, but his general kicking game has been the pick of the fly-halves on tour.

"Sometimes that sort of thing happens," said O' Gara. "You normally find someone else worse off than yourself on tour and you just have to accept it. But that doesn't make it any easier to take."

O' Gara, with England's Charlie Hodgson, have had to settle for minor roles on tour as Jones and Wilkinson have been preferred for the internationals.

O' Gara only got a game against Auckland after coming on to replace Hodgson in the 20th minute. The Sale Shark had opened the scoring with a penalty in the fourth minute, but then had to leave the field after being knocked out in a tackle.

O' Gara came on in his place and slotted two further penalties, while winger Mark Cueto's surging run from broken field set up a try for flanker Martyn Williams in the corner to give his side a 14-3 lead at the break.

The Munsterman made the game safe five minutes from time, slotting a third penalty after flying winger Isa Nacewa set Lions' nerves jangling by scoring out wide in the 62nd minute.

"We knew it was going to be tough out there," admitted O'Gara.

"Auckland have a proven record against touring sides and, with 20 minutes to go, we were up against it, but the guys dug deep. We all had to go out there with the attitude of playing for a Test spot. You never know what's going to happen next in this game."

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