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Ronan O’Gara recalls considering playing for USA

Ronan O'Gara

Ronan O’Gara has revealed he considered playing for the USA before he won his first cap for Ireland back in the year 2000.

One of Ireland’s most decorated players ever, O’Gara won 128 caps for his country and also toured with the British and Irish Lions on three occasions.

None of that would have happened had O’Gara made the decision to play for the country of his birth however, as the future Munster legend was born in San Diego, California.

When speaking about Ben Healy’s decision to sign for Edinburgh on Off The Ball, O’Gara revealed that he considered playing for the USA and met with future Ireland head coach Eddie O’Sullivan while he was working with the Eagles in the late 1990s.

Ronan O’Gara on considering playing for the USA.

“It’s a big, big decision for a young player. I remember, going back donkeys years, I met Eddie O’Sullivan when he was coaching the US Eagles,” O’Gara started.

“I was in that position where I was trying to convince myself that I could play for Cork Con and represent America at national level. Thankfully I didn’t make that decision because once you make that you can’t turn back.

“It’s a huge moment for the player and for Ben and the emotions involved and with his family involved, it’s a big call. As we know, the show goes, but when you’re put in his situation that’s a massive decision for any young player to make.”

Ben Healy isn’t the first and won’t be the last.

Healy looks set to play for Scotland after signing for Edinburgh, and he won’t be the first promising Irish out-half to represent another country if he does so.

Dubliner AJ MacGinty has been a key player for the USA in the past seven years and led Connacht to a remarkable Pro12 title after impressing for his adoptive country at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Ulster scrum-half John Cooney is also considering changing his international allegiance, as he will qualify for Scotland through his father next month, having last played for Ireland in February 2020.

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