Six Nations 2013: Ireland’s O’Gara will rise to challenge, says Easterby

Six Nations 2013: Former Ireland star Simon Easterby says Ronan O'Gara will rise to the challenge of filling Jonathan Sexton's void

Ronan O’Gara will rise to the challenge of marshalling Ireland in the Six Nations clash against Scotland, according to former international team-mate Simon Easterby.

O’Gara had an off-day from the tee for Munster against Easterby’s Scarlets at the weekend and was outshone by 20-year-old counterpart Owen Williams.

However, the veteran is expected to get the nod for Ireland at Murrayfield on Sunday, having come off the bench against England to replace the injured Jonny Sexton, who misses the Scotland game with a hamstring problem.

In doing so, O’Gara won his 127th Ireland cap and became the first person to feature in every edition of the Six Nations, since Italy joined the previous quintet at the turn of the century.

And Easterby, who won 65 caps for Ireland, is convinced 35-year-old O’Gara will bounce back.

“Munster had a good win against Edinburgh last week so they came here with a bit of confidence and had Rog back in the side as well, looking to get a bit of form for Ireland,” Easterby told the Irish Independent.

“Luckily he didn’t bring his right kicking boots – he missed a couple and we took advantage of that.

“But he will always rise to the challenge and I am sure he will step in and take control of that position (for Ireland).

“Rog has been there, done it and that experience will be huge for Ireland over the next couple of weeks because they have lost Gordon D’Arcy as well. I’m sure Rog will step up and hopefully he will put this couple of kicks behind him and go well next week.”

Meanwhile, Ulster’s Paddy Jackson, 21, has edged out Leinster’s Ian Madigan to replace Sexton in Ireland’s 29-man training squad.

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