Battle of the underdog

Eddie O’Sullivan and Jake White are both fighting for the underdog tag in the build-up to Saturday’s test. But Ireland flyhalf Ronan O’Gara is flattered that some see his team as favourites.

“The one thing I will say is that we have come a long way to be considered as favourites, I can’t remember that ever happening before against South Africa,” O’Gara told the media before cautioning the pro-Irish lobby that Ireland’s performances in New Zealand had no bearing on Saturday’s match.

O’Gara has been in very good form for Munster in the European Cup and a fortnight ago kicked a 52 metre penalty to beat Leicester. He was also the hero of Ireland’s 17-12 win against the Boks in 2004.

He scored the only try of the match, an opportunistic tap and go and says it is about all he can remember from the win.

“To be honest, I’ve very little recollection of the match two years ago. I can hardly remember what happened against Biarritz in the Heineken Cup final, let alone that game against the Springboks. Of course, I recall the try. That was just down to instinct, you have a split second, and you take your chance. Matt Giteau got a similar score for Australia on the weekend.”

Beating the Boks, he said, would be a big achievement for Ireland.