Six Nations 2013: Kiss defends O’Gara omission from Ireland squad

Six Nations 2013: Ireland coach Lee Kiss says Ronan O'Gara's omission in France clash doesn't signal end of fly-half's career

Ireland assistant boss Lee Kiss has dismissed suggestions Ronan O’Gara’s omission from this weekend’s squad to face France in the Six Nations signals the end of his international career.

O’Gara, who turns 36 on Thursday, has 128 international caps to his name but his performance after replacing rookie Paddy Jackson during Ireland’s loss against Scotland last time out was well below-par.

Leinster pair Jonathan Sexton and Ian Madigan and Ulster’s Jackson were the three fly-halves selected to face the French but O’Gara was a shock exclusion from the Irish squad.

“Ronan continues to provide value whenever he’s around the camp. I have every faith that he will put his hand up and say ‘I’m still part of this picture’,” Kiss said.

“That’s how I see him responding at this stage. Without a doubt he’ll be disappointed, but nothing’s finished yet and he could be back in the picture pretty quickly.”

Kiss’s view was shared by team manager Mick Kearney, who also defended the manner in which the news was broken.

“I don’t think this marks the end of Ronan’s international career. There’s still every possibility that he may be involved again,” Kearney said.

“By leaving him out of the squad for France it certainly wasn’t Declan’s intention that he was writing off his international career. That’s not the case at all.

“It’s a selection call. Declan spoke to Ronan yesterday. He wanted to give Ronan advance warning of what his thinking would be.

“If Ronan had come in he’d have been running in the centre or on the wing. Out of respect, Declan didn’t want him to do that.

“Giving him an early warning was the right thing to do, given who Ronan is. He was disappointed, as you’d expect him to be.

“Obviously Ronan is an absolute legend of Irish rugby who has contributed a massive amount, but it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do for Declan or the management to issue a statement.

“It wasn’t that we were signaling the end of his career, there’s still a decent possibility that Ronan will be involved before the end of the Six Nations.

“If that’s the case, I don’t think a statement would have served any real purpose.”

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