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Ronan O'Gara | 'Green jerseys...
Rugby

Ronan O'Gara | 'Green jerseys up for grabs should make for great Thomond Park contest'

Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

17:00 21 Jan 2021

Ronan O'Gara believes that the competition for places in the Irish squad can only enhance this weekend's meeting of Munster and Leinster at Thomond Park.

The sides face off in Limerick this Saturday evening, having seen their original St Stephen's Day clash postponed due to the Coronavirus crisis.

And with Ireland head coach Andy Farrell set to name his Six Nations squad just days after this weekend's game, it adds an extra layer to what was already an intriguing matchup.

Players on both sides have points to prove; some to keep their place in the Irish starting team, while others will be looking for a big performance to bring themselves into the reckoning for the wider squad.

In the backrow, Rhys Ruddock and Gavin Coombes have been in sensational form this season, while Jordan Larmour, Dave Kearney, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway will be eager to remind Andy Farrell of their worth to an area of the squad that is stacked with depth.

Ronan O'Gara joined Ger and Eoin on this Thursday's OTB AM to give his thoughts on the half-back depth chart ahead of the Six Nations, but naturally conversation drifted to this weekend's interpro.

The Munster and Ireland legend says a big performance in this weekend's game could be just enough for someone to play themselves either into or out of Farrell's plans.

"What is exciting is you can see that the guys who are performing will get rewarded with a green jersey, because an awful lot of those jerseys are up for grabs, and that hasn't been the case for a long, long time.

"It leads to an exciting time for them playing for a Six Nations where it's never been so open," he says.

Prior to the postponement of their Christmas fixture, Munster were riding high from their unbeaten start - and sensational comeback against Clermont in France - and while O'Gara believes Munster have reason to be confident, he doesn't agree that Munster would be favourites to avenge their PRO14 semi-final defeat from last season.

"How can you say that? Leinster are a champion team, Munster haven't been near their level in a long number of years, they've kicked on top a different stratosphere in the last number of years and they've been consistently better."

However, O'Gara says that the signs are clear on the pitch that Munster are starting to believe in their game more this season.

"I think what has changed in Munster is that their bulid-up - from the outside looking - looks like they are setting themselves up to succeed this time. Other times you felt they were setting themselves up to withhold the Leinster storm. It should make for a great game."

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