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Ronan O’Gara admits to asking Brian O’Driscoll to join Munster

Ronan O'Gara

Ronan O’Gara has admitted that he asked Brian O’Driscoll if he would consider joining Munster in the mid 2000s.

The two men are synonymousΒ with their respective provinces, as O’Gara and O’Driscoll were the star players for Munster and Leinster for the bulk of their careers.

Both finished their careers as one-club-men and enjoyed plenty of success as O’Gara and O’Driscoll won league titles and Heineken Cups, although it did look as though that was only a possibility for Munster in the mid 2000s.

Speaking on Off The Ball, O’Driscoll revealed that O’Gara sounded out if the Dubliner was interested in joining Munster shortly before the province won the Heineken Cup for the first time.

Brian O’Driscoll on Ronan O’Gara sounding him out.

“It was a conversation in camp. It wasn’t a formal, ‘I’ve got a contract here ready for you to sign’, but it was a, ‘Would you think about coming down?’Β He definitely was asked to enquire,” O’Driscoll revealed.

“They probably were short a little bit over the course of the time where they lost in semifinals and finals in the centres, but then they got it together with Rua Tipoki and [Rob] Henderson in ’06, but I think it was just prior to that.

“I think that’s when he enquired if I would be interested in coming down. I said, ‘I wouldn’t, Ronan, I’m going to stay put’. I was thinking about moving at that stage, I was definitely considering France as an option.

“Then when [Michael] Cheika came in and we got to the semifinal that year, I thought if he can do that with an OK at best squad, what are we capable of doing if we pull it together over the next few years?

“That’s why I stayed at Leinster, but I was never thinking of going down to Munster.”

‘I think that’s a pretty normal thought process.’

O’Gara had no issue with admitting to seeing if O’Driscoll had any interest in joining Munster and suggested that it was only natural to try to secure the services of a player of his quality.

“I don’t remember the specific conversation but over a period of playing with Brian all my career, I would say that was most definitely the case,” O’Gara said.

“Leinster are very different now to where they were at that stage, it’s interesting that was probably before we won Europe, we’d been knocking on the door and we were probably by far the dominant team [in Ireland].

“In my head it was, ‘Does Brian see himself winning something with Leinster or does he want to come down to Munster and try to win something?’

“Obviously we had Trevor Halstead, John Kelly, Lifeimi Mafi and Rua Tipoki but Brian O’Driscoll would have been an addition to whatever team he’d play in.

“So I think that’s a pretty normal thought process for someone that I was close with in the Irish team.”

O’Driscoll didn’t end up joining Munster of course, and after a challenging few years with Leinster he ultimately went on to win three Heineken Cups with his native province.

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