“I Felt For Him” – Ronan O’Gara On Texting Johnny Sexton Following Lions Omission

Competitor.

Ronan O’Gara has admitted he reached out to Johnny Sexton yesterday following his surprise omission from Warren Gatland’s 37-man British and Irish Lions squad.

The former Ireland and Munster out-half said it “hit” him because he knows how much of a competitor Sexton is having both played with and coached the current Ireland captain.

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The pair have had their differences in the past but built up a strong bond during their time at Racing 92 and have a huge amount of respect for each other.

Speaking on Off The Ball, O’Gara said it will be “tough” for Sexton to get over the snub but he will move onto the next challenge before long.

“I did [send Sexton a text]; I felt for him,” O’Gara said.

“It hit me because I know how much of a competitor he is, and I know how much it means to him.

“We have had our differences over the years, most definitely, but we had a lovely few years in Paris together that was hugely enjoyable.

“I have had periods of strong contact and periods where you wouldn’t be in contact, but there is an awful lot of respect there and I admire what he has done in his career.

“It is tough, but that is what happens. It is tough, but it is not personal, and you move onto the next job, and Johnny will move on and get motivated for what his next challenge is.”

O’Gara added that it’s James Ryan that everyone should be particularly disappointed for.

“Johnny is at an age where he has done so much,” O’Gara said.

“It is someone like James Ryan that you have to be particularly disappointed for.

“He is at an age where he is probably, not near his prime, but he has offered so much. We were categorising him as a world-class player, a potential Ireland captain, Lions captain, and then all of a sudden, this morning, he is not involved in the squad.

“That is soul-destroying. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger as the saying says, and that is so true.”