Ronan O’Gara Breaks Down & Explains Missed Billy Burns Kick With Fascinating Detail

“It’s just about what he’ll learn from it.”

Former Munster and Ireland outhalf Ronan O’Gara says “of course” he has sympathy for Billy Burns following his missed touch finder in the final seconds of Ireland’s defeat to Wales on Sunday.

Burns missed touch by some distance after Ireland were handed a penalty in the final seconds of the game, ending all hope of a famous, last-gasp victory for Andy Farrell’s men in the opening round.

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Captain Johnny Sexton came out and defended his teammate after the game and now his predecessor O’Gara has tried to pick apart what exactly went wrong for Burns with some excellent analysis.

Speaking to us yesterday, O’Gara used some interesting analogies to try and describe what exactly goes through a ten’s head when they find themselves in that scenario and what the future holds for Burns.

“Of course I do [have sympathy] because I understand the subject very well,” O’Gara said.

“It’s very interesting for me to think what the thought policy is with the kickers. You can only accurately comment on the people that you work with; whether it’s a Richie Mo’unga for me or Ihaia West or Jules Plisson.

“You have to have that visualisation or process spoken through with them before you put it into practice. 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 bit strange for people. The corner flag, as in the traditional corner flag, is on 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’re out of bounds, you have a 4.99m out of bounds range, which as a kicker is quite big.

“On the other side, 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. You know your out of bounds is five metres, you’re in the red, you can’t go there but you’re going to get rewarded if you go out of bounds by four metres because you get the lineout five metres out. It’s a desperate or great feeling to have, depending on if you are feeling it.

“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.

“It’s just about what he’ll learn from it. That’s the important thing because it’s a disappointing yesterday, and he’ll be the most disappointed. 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.”

Fantastic insight and analysis from O’Gara as usual.

Yesterday Aviva launched the Safe To Dream Team, an online hub which aims to improve access for young people on their sporting journey within clubs or at home, through online skills videos, and advice and support from leading sports ambassadors. Despite the current Covid-19 restrictions, Aviva Ireland, proud sponsors of the IRFU and the men’s and Women’s National Football Teams, will ensure children across Ireland can continue to improve their skills and knowledge, and enjoy pursuing their sporting dreams through the Aviva Mini Rugby and Soccer Sister programmes delivered through the Safe To Dream Team.

The first members of the Safe To Dream Team; Irish International and Munster rugby player Eimear Considine and legendary Irish International flyhalf and current La Rochelle Head Coach Ronan O’Gara teamed up to announce the Aviva Mini Rugby Virtual Skills Hub. This will take place over next week’s mid-term break from Monday 15th February 2021 to Friday 19th February 2021. Ireland’s future rugby stars will have the chance to build their confidence and hone their skills, developed by IRFU coaches and hosted by Eimear Considine.