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'You don't have time to think' | Stringer and O'Gara on their Grand Slam pass and kick

Shane Hannon
Shane Hannon

10:37 PM - 25 Mar 2020




Ronan O'Gara and Peter Stringer reminisced about that famous Grand Slam-clinching drop-goal against Wales on tonight's show.

The former out-half partners, who played together from their Cork Con days right through with Munster and indeed Ireland, joined Joe Molloy on Off the Ball tonight.

It was inevitable the kick in 2009 came up, as Ireland won 17-15 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in front of almost 75,000 fans.

Stringer says for him, it was just important he came off the bench in the right frame of mind to pull off a crucial pass, as he did, if called upon.

"For the whole game I'm sitting on the bench really. I come on with 15, 20 minutes to go! I've come off the bench quite a bit towards the end of my career, it's a different dynamic.

"If it's kind of during the season, you're thinking 'I've got to try and make an impact, I've got to get a kick in, a pass in... I've got to try and show somebody something that gets me picked for the next week.

"This was a different dynamic, you're in a big game, high pressure situation, it's as big as it gets, so you're thinking to yourself, 'Okay, it's got to be about composure, it's got to be about doing the right things for the team', and my whole mindset completely changed.

"This was about just delivering one pass in a pressure situation... I had hit ROG with the ball I don't know how many times in my career, but this had to be on the money.

"The key point for me was getting that ball on the right-hand side of ROG's body. Looking at that drop-goal in recent times, it's probably a fraction high if I'm being overly critical about it.

"The main point was hit him on the right-hand side. I nearly hit Paulie with the ball, and he was a little apologetic about it. That's the last fella you want to hit in a drop-goal scenario.

"Credit to him [ROG] again, he stepped up to the mark and just nailed it."

21 March 2009; Ireland's Ronan O'Gara, left, celebrates with team-mate Brian O'Driscoll after scoring a drop goal to make the score Wales 15 - Ireland 17. RBS Six Nations Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Stringer says nerves didn't come into it for him given everything happened so quickly.

"You don't have time to think about it in these situations. You're so focused on your surroundings, because of what you've done before. I've been doing it since I was six years of age, so you're not panicking.

"I've thrown that pass a million times, yes it's a pressure situation but you don't have time to think about it. There was no panic in that moment, the Welsh defence weren't gonna get off the line.

"I had that second to kind of get Paulie out of the way, get Rory Best out of the way I think it was, and just have that moment to make sure the ball was on the money."

O'Gara meanwhile says he always had simple instructions for any scrum-half he was playing with.

14 March 2009; Ireland out-half Ronan O'Gara, left, and scrum-half Peter Stringer celebrate after the game. RBS Six Nations Championship, Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

"You always say it to your nine 'I want my hands stinging. Everytime I get a pass from you I want my hands burning, I don't want any of this soft stuff landing in my hands. Hit me, rip it at me, every single time. If it's too hard you'll hear it from me, if not keep them coming.'

"It was the fact that they were in a sprint start, that's the only thing that spooked me potentially but it was just getting the ball down. The drop was poor obviously, that's why it wobbled over, but..."

O'Gara also spoke tonight about the 'kiss and make up' policy in their Munster days that served the province well.

"We left it on the pitch, we had a 'kiss and make-up' policy at Munster. As heated as it got and there would be plenty of digging matches at training but we always had a final huddle.

"One of the main leaders would speak and after that we'd kiss and make up. Some days obviously there'd be nobody, some days you could have six couples having a kiss.

"It wasn't a kiss... and with the coronavirus now everything will change... but it was a kiss on the lips! Which was quite interesting..."

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Read more about

2009 Six Nations Declan Kidney Grand Slam Ireland Munster Peter Stringer Ronan O'Gara Rugby Vodafone Ireland Wales

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