O’Gara Discusses The Animosity That Once Existed Between Him And Sexton
When Johnny Sexton first burst onto the scene, it was clear that he and Ronan O’Gara were going to have a battle on their hands.
It was a case of the young lion looking to defeat the older, wiser lion and take his place as leader of the pack. The animosity between the two was as clear as day.
Speaking on Jarlath Regan’s ‘An Irishman Abroad’ podcast, O’Gara opened up regarding his relationship with Johnny Sexton.
My relationship with Johnny is a real relationship because at the start – you don’t say that you hate him, because I’ve been told that you don’t say that you hate someone – but we didn’t like each other at all. But that’s normal.
He was more than a rival. He was an ambitious young fella who wants to announce his arrival on the big stage and I’m there. Do I think I’m going to make it easy for this guy? You must be joking.
O’Gara was asked by Regan if it was the case that Sexton had basically annoyed him as a person.
It most definitely was. It was the same perception of me when I was starting off. That this guy had a bit of a head on him. But that has to be, it’s bread and butter if you want to survive in this game. It’s the position that gets all the heat.
We’d never met in an Irish camp. What happened in the Munster vs Leinster game when Darce scored and I was on the ground and he roared into my face, he apologised for that afterwards. Once a fella does that [you move on]. If it’s a real apology, yes. If it’s a kind of lip service, no.
Spending time with a fella, you understand what he’s about. It is true that there were days where… there was Rala, Mark Tainton, me and Johnny in a car and there wouldn’t be a word spoken; that’s not a great way to live your life – for anyone in the car.