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Rob Kearney Explains Why O'Gara/Sexton Relationship Wasn't Healthy

Rob Kearney Explains Why O'Gara/Sexton Relationship Wasn't Healthy
Colman Stanley
By Colman Stanley
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During the period that the pair first crossed paths, it's fair to say that Ronan O'Gara and Johnny Sexton had a difficult relationship. The Munster legend was coming towards the tail-end of his career, while his younger counterpart was gunning for his position in the Irish team.

It resulted in a strange dynamic, one that was certainly noticed by their teammates at the time.

Looking back at that time, Rob Kearney has previously spoke of the need for players to have a friendly relationship for the good of the team, and used the infamously poor relationship between Ronan O’Gara and Johnny Sexton as an example of an imperfect situation.

READ HERE: Bernard Jackman Fears Squad Depth Could Cost Ireland In Six Nations

Rob Kearney on O'Gara/Sexton relationship

Speaking on Virgin Media back in 2022, he said that the relationship between the pair was something that affected the team at the time.

"I certainly think that for the benefit of the team you want everyone getting on well," said Kearney.

"Your two number tens Johnny and Joey have a really good relationship.


"I remember one time it was a Wednesday afternoon and we were going practising kicking in 2010 I think it was. It was me, Johnny, ROG (Ronan O'Gara) on the bus. They wouldn’t speak to each other it was so awkward. I was sitting there at the back on my phone, [wanting to] get off this bus as soon as possible.


“I didn’t think it was healthy at the time, and particularly when Johnny’s captain now you’ve got to lead by example and be inclusive to the other players around you.”

Shane Horgan agreed that the relationship between O’Gara and Sexton was unadvisable, but argued that there needs to be some degree of rivalry for players to achieve their full potential.

“It doesn’t have to be fractious," Horgan said.


"Too friendly a relationship isn’t beneficial to Joey. If you look at when ROG and Sexton were there, Sexto came in he said ROG 'you’re gone you’re useless', he didn’t rate him.

“And it was the same with Ronan and Humphs (David Humphreys) before that. And maybe it’s a ten thing, but I think we’ve all been subjected to it. Tommy Bowe when he took my place I’m sure he was there, ‘that Horgan guy useless, he’s past it, let me in’.

“It’s almost that youth has to come in and take over and say this is mine now my time is here, and Joey isn’t quite there. It doesn’t feel like he’s at the point where he says ‘Sexton get out of here I’m taking over’.”


Matt Williams agreed with Horgan and said, “You’ve got to have a real friction of competitiveness in the teams for positions.”

Ronan O'Gara and Johnny Sexton's rivalry came at a time when fortunes began to change between Munster and Leinster, and defined an entire era of the rivalry.

SEE ALSO: Predicting A 37-Man Ireland Squad For The 2024 Six Nations

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