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Penney: O’Gara and Keatley force each other to improve

Guinness PRO12 Editor

3 Oct 2012

Ian Keatley might be stealing the plaudits for Munster this season but with Ronan O’Gara the current incumbent in the fly-half jersey head coach Rob Penney insists he is relishing having such strength in depth.

Penney, who only took over in the summer, has guided his side to third in the RaboDirect PRO12 table after five games this season with three wins and two defeats.

And with the newly-installed head coach favouring a more expansive style of play this season the suggestion has been made that Keatley might be the man to better implement their new philosophy.

But with 124 Ireland caps to his name the 35-year-old O’Gara is a hard man to budge and Penney admits that the rivalry between the two could take their games to new heights.

“We are excited about having two slightly different individuals both capable of wearing our team jersey with a great deal of pride and high performance,” he told the Irish Independent.

“Given time, they are both capable of playing a brand of rugby that Munster will be really proud of.

“Ronan has been a world-class player for a long time now and he has represented everybody at the highest level with a great deal of talent and dignity.

“He's just been a wonderful, wonderful player over a long period of time. Ronan is as excited about playing the game now as what I envisage he was ten years ago.

“And he is going through a growth phase himself, which is stimulating for him, on the back of Ian Keatley, who has done a tremendous job.”