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Ronan O'Gara Believes Billy Burns Will Retain Place For France Game

Ronan O'Gara Believes Billy Burns Will Retain Place For France Game
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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From what he's seen of Billy Burns's missed kick to touch against Wales on Sunday, Ronan O'Gara believes it's a case of the out-half thinking about the outcome rather than the process.

With Ireland five points down and the clock in the red, Wayne Barnes awarded Ireland a penalty and the chance to draw or perhaps win the game.

With Johnny Sexton off the pitch due to a HIA, Burns took responsibility, but the kick skewed horribly wide of the mark and over the end line. The final whistle blew with Wales winning 21-16.

"Of course I do [have sympathy] because I understand the subject very well," says O'Gara, speaking at the launch the Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub.

"I'm not sure how many opportunities in the past Billy Burns has had in that position - I wouldn't say he's had that same scenario.

"I've got to use the analogy that it's like a golfer in the fact that nowadays the five-metre line is the goal line for a kicker. That probably sounds a bit strange for people. The corner flag, as in the traditional corner flag, is of no relevance - you cannot get a lineout nearer the five-metre line. Why would you even think of kicking for the corner flag?

"Your new corner flag is the five-metre line. You know on a bad day that you cannot go out of bounds over the five-metre line [but] you have a 4.99m out of bounds range, which as a kicker is quite big.


"On the otherside, to get a lineout five metres out, you've got to aim for the five-metre line. Your error rate can be the five metres previous to that. If you miss your target by five [metres], you have a lineout 10 metres out.

"It's still quite a lot to work with as a kicker. If you're looking to hit the five-metres, in training it's grand, but put yourself in that scenario: a one-metre target is small.


"I need to have a look from behind the goal again. But the view I saw, I thought it missed by a lot, which I'd say [was a case of] 'head up, looking at outcome'. As opposed to, I've done it a few times myself, you've got to watch the ball onto your foot!"


Pictured is legendary Irish International Ronan O’Gara, and a family of rugby Minis. Ronan has teamed up with Irish rugby star Eimear Considine to launch the Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub, which will take place over next week’s mid-term break from Monday 15th to Friday 19th February 2021. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Farid Makhlouf

Despite the mishap, O'Gara believes that Burns will keep his place as backup out-half for this weekend's game against France.

"It's just about what he'll learn from it," O'Gara says.


"He doesn't need to be told but it will more disappointing for him if in the next scenario for Ulster in a Heineken Cup game or for Ireland in the future that he does the same - then people will get frustrated.

"But sure that's where we'll see his character now, that's where we'll see what he's made of. It's all well and good when everything is rosy. He's had a setback. Everyone in top level sport is going to have setbacks. He can feel sorry for himself last night. But chin up today and get back to work. Get working on it straight away.

"I think Andy will be disappointed with the execution. I think it's a very different debate if it happens another time. Or another time after that. We all make errors. There's no robots playing the game. He went for it and his skillset let him down. He's seen enough from him obviously to bring him in as his No. 2. And I think he'll continue to believe in him."


Aviva’s Safe To Dream Team online skills hub aims to improve access for young people on their sporting journey within clubs or at home. To take part, and to be in with a chance to win prizes for your family or kit for your club, and receive discounts on your car and home insurance, families and clubs across Ireland are invited to sign up at www.aviva.ie/safetodreamteam.

Featured image: Sportsfile

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