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"A world without sport is unthinkable" | Ronan O'Gara on the joy and necessity of sport

Paul Moore
Paul Moore

13:35 20 Mar 2020

Joining us on Friday's OTB AM, La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara was in a reflective mood on the sporting void that we're all experiencing.

Much like the rest of the sporting world, France's Top 14 rugby championship has been suspended until at least April 15th due to coronavirus worries.

Prior to Liverpool's Champions League second-leg tie against Atletico Madrid, Jurgen Klopp made an extremely poignant point when discussing the match. He described football as “the most important of the least important things” and you can apply that logic to any sport.

During his recent discussion with OTB AM, O'Gara echoed Klopp's sentiment as he spoke about the widespread lockdown in France, readjusting to the 'new norm,' and his legacy in the game.

At times like this, sport is trivial when measured against the threat of COVID-19, however, in the absence of any matches or events, O'Gara thinks that it's a nice moment to reflect on the importance that sport has in society.

"That's what people are beginning to realise. I suppose, how much joy the necessity of sport brings to all our lives. It's absolutely crucial, it's one of the biggest things that we've seen in the last seven days - how many people are interested in sport. So many.

It's only when you take it away, you see here last week when we were out more often, we'd go to a cafe and a lot of the elderly men would be giving out yards that the rugby is cancelled," continued O'Gara.

"They're absolutely disgusted because it gives so much joy and purpose to people's life. That's the massive positive that has come out of all this. I think it would be such a different world if there was no sport and you can see that."

In terms of O'Gara's own career, Irish and Munster fans will have a litany of glorious memories and moments to choose from, but rather than reflect on the past, O'Gara is optimistic about what's to come, whenever that may be.

"I suppose that's what excites us for one month's time, or six month's time, whenever it is, but a world without sport is unthinkable," said the ex-Munster man.

"That has been one of the key messages that I've taken from the last seven days, but with this pause, it's also an opportunity to reflect and think 'how lucky am I to be in this position? To be running a team in France and getting so much satisfaction out of it.' Then, you've got all the great rugby at home in Ireland too. Sport is absolutely crucial, it's deep in our soul."

In terms of domestic matters, Irish Rugby recently confirmed that this season's domestic season has ended with immediate effect.

The decision has been made due to ongoing safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Energia All-Ireland League (AIL) had already been on-hold since the announcement by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week that all mass gatherings would be cancelled until March 29th at the earliest.

The IRFU's Rugby Committee ratified the decision to end all the incomplete national and provincial championships.

Cups will be shared by finalists where cup final participants have already been decided.

You can watch back Ronan O'Gara's interview in full right here

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


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Covid-19 Ireland Munster Ronan O'Gara Rugby Sport

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