Ireland Legend Ronan O’Gara On The Wales Star He Absolutely “Hates”
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Former Ireland and Munster outhalf Ronan O’Gara reckons there will always be “spice” between Wales and Ireland as the two sides get set to lock horns once again this weekend for the opening match of the Autumn Nations Cup.
Ireland were coached by former Wales boss Warren Gatland before a public falling out saw him take over at Wales not long after and help create a rivalry for the ages that continues to this day.
Speaking on S4C’s Tŷ Rygbi programme, O’Gara said Gatland did a fantastic job with the Welsh and added they became the “new England” under the New Zealander because they were so hard to beat.
But with Wales on a freefall at the moment under Wayne Pivac, Ireland will fancy themselves this weekend, despite their recent defeat to France in Paris.
“There will always be spice there between Ireland and Wales because Warren Gatland coached a lot of us in Ireland and then he obviously went to Wales. What a job he did there,” O’Gara said on S4C’s Tŷ Rygbi programme.
“After a while, the biggest compliment I can give Wales is that they became the new England because they were very hard to beat.”
In terms of opposition, O’Gara said he absolutely ‘hated’ Mike Phillips during their playing days because he was such a quality player.
“Mike Phillips is one of the greatest guys to play rugby,” said O’Gara.
“I absolutely hate the guy because he’s quality on the pitch but then two hours later we’re the first two charging to the bar!
“We had put a record defeat on Mike and the Ospreys a few weeks previously, so Mike was obviously lucky to get on the plane (for the 2009 Lions tour) at that stage!
“We’d abused each other six weeks previously. I remember checking in, getting a key and heading back to the room with all the bags. I turn around the corner and who do I see lying on the bed? The great Mike Phillips.
“The two of us burst out laughing.”