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O’Connell impressed with O’Gara’s mental strength

Guinness PRO12 Editor

8 Dec 2011

Ronan O’Gara’s kicking ability speaks for itself, but Munster captain Paul O’Connell has praised his teammate’s mental strength, insisting it is this that separates the great from the good.

When the fly-half lines up against fellow RaboDirect PRO12 outfit Scarlets on Saturday he will be featuring in his 100th Heineken Cup game.

The competition just keeps giving to O’Gara this season after he landed two last-gasp drop goals to hand Munster victories over Northampton and Castres.

And O’Connell is convinced they can rely on O’Gara again if needed, believing his out-half is able to keep a calm head no matter what.

“You know in a game that if we are on the ropes you have a guy there that can pull it out of the fire for you and that actually wants to be in that position, that wants to have the clutch kick or to produce the play to win a game or a drop goal, as he has done in the past,” O’Connell said.

“I think that’s probably the big thing about him, his mental strength. It’s brilliant.

“You want to have as many great players in your team as you can but then you want to have players that you know when they have a setback, they are going to come back stronger and harder than ever.

“Be that a setback in the middle of a game, or be that a setback career-wise with an injury or being dropped or whatever, you want guys that have that kind of mental toughness in your team, and that’s what he has in abundance.”