Ronan O’Gara has eased fears amongst Irish rugby fans by claiming that he is alright after a recent injury scare. The out-half picked up a calf strain but expects to be back in full training this week.
“I hurt myself the last day in Carton House (training) so I haven’t done much running for the last 10 days,” O’Gara told The Irish Examiner.
“I just pushed the body too hard and got a bit of a twinge. I’m nearly back, hopefully I’ll be back this week.
“A scare? It was a 1, 1.5 tear, with 3 being the worst. So it was a very minor tear. The danger is trying to come back soon, and if you’ve a mishap, you’re back to square one, so you’ve to be careful not to rush back.
“With all these things you get to work on something else, but the lads will have done four heavy fitness sessions which I’ll have to make up, but that wouldn’t cost me a thought.
“But if you want an injury — and it’s years since I had a soft tissue injury — it’s the best of times for it.”
O’Garaadded that “it’s all to play for” in the battle for the number 10 jersey with Leinster’s Jonny Sexton.
“The two of us are fighting for the jersey, it’s interesting. There’ll be different opinions but I couldn’t be happier with how things are going. I’ve to make sure I’m in good mental and physical condition.
“But I haven’t thought about the competition for the jersey. What sport has taught me is that it’s rare I don’t have an impact on games and I’ve got to be prepared for that. Hopefully there’ll come a time in the World Cup when I’m needed, whether that’s to come on or to start a game. It’s all to play for.
“I have to believe I’m the best and Jonny’s got to believe he’s the best. I don’t think there’s any tension there (between the two) — I think there’s big determination there, a willingness to win. I don’t know him as well as I know David Humphreys, but what I do know is that there’s big willingness to succeed there.”
O’Gara is also looking for a better World Cup showing compared to 2007, when Ireland went out early.
He said: “That was disappointing. After one week things weren’t going well so we worked harder and harder, and by game day we were flat, dead. At the time you don’t think that, it’s when you think back you think of the improvements you could make.”
This year Ireland will face four warm-up games ahead of the tournament and the Munster star hopes Ireland’s top players come through those games unscathed.
“There are four intense games and I hope there’s a fit squad there at the end of it. There’s competition there but there are also a few key players you’re dependent on, and you don’t want them getting injured at the same time.
“Like any team in any sport, you need your talisman players and while we have a broader pool of players, there are a lot of people we know will be on the team, even if some of the positions are contentious.”