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Ronan O'Gara's Astute Defence Of Owen Farrell Goes Against The Tide

Ronan O'Gara's Astute Defence Of Owen Farrell Goes Against The Tide
By Eoin Harrington Updated
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Ronan O'Gara feels for Owen Farrell as the saga surrounding the potential suspension of the England star continues to drag on.

After being sent to the TMO bunker during last Saturday's World Cup warm-up game against Wales, Farrell was ultimately shown a red card, for a high and dangerous tackle on Taine Basham.

The days since have seen a back-and-forth, with the Judicial Committee initially announcing Farrell would not face a suspension, before World Rugby confirmed that they would be appealing that decision.

Farrell has been at the centre of a whirlwind media frenzy, with international coaches and ex-referees among those to chime in on the incident.

Though Ireland legend O'Gara believes that Farrell should indeed face suspension for his dangerous tackle, he feels for the Englishman, and questions what the potential impact of this saga on his mental health may be.

READ HERE: Report: Rassie Erasmus In Line For Shock Return To Ireland

Ronan O'Gara bemoans hysteria of Owen Farrell case


Speaking on Off The Ball this week, Ronan O'Gara said that he felt for Owen Farrell amid the frenzy of discussion surrounding his potential suspension, with the England fly-half's World Cup hanging in the balance.


18 March 2023; Referee Jaco Peyper speaks with Owen Farrell of England as Jonathan Sexton of Ireland looks on during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Farrell's mental health must be taken into account, argues O'Gara, in a point which somewhat echoes that made by Owen's father Andy earlier this week:


I think everyone expected Owen to miss a game or two and move on but now it's all back in the melting pot.

Mentally it must be very, very difficult for him. I think his mental welfare has to be taken into account too. I think it all could have been avoided by him getting a little suspension and everybody moves on.

O'Gara was no stranger to taking big hits on a rugby pitch.


The legendary ex-Munster and Ireland fly-half was not only able to take a heavy tackle on the pitch, but even suffered some rather nasty off-the-ball bashings during his career.

Perhaps most notable was the incident on the 2001 Lions tour, which saw O'Gara pinned to the ground by Duncan McRae and repeatedly punched, necessitating eight stitches in his face.

He is, therefore, no stranger to the dangers of the game, and made an intriguing point surrounding the dangers and fears that have motivated the move towards heavy penalisation of head contact:


No one has been put through the grind like this. The game is getting safer, there's cameras everywhere. I've heard people saying, 'I don't want my son playing the game if that is where it's going' - when I played the game, people used to stamp on each others heads. That wasn't a rarity.

Players' welfare is of the utmost importance. There's no place in the game for headshots, I think the areas and the progression around concussion hasve been so positive.

Owen Farrell will not be involved when England face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off in Dublin is at 5:30pm.


SEE ALSO: Eddie Jones Loses Rag With Journalists As Australia Depart For World Cup

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