Ian Keatley on Ronan O'Gara's deadpan advice and his most treasured Munster jersey
"So that's the type of advice ROG gave JJ!"
As Munster "kingpins" go, Ronan O'Gara had the longest and most successful reign. The Cork native was the province's go-to man for 16 years (1997 to 2013) and saw off many competitors for the No.10 jersey.
In his final season with Munster, O'Gara had both Ian Keatley and JJ Hanrahan eyeing up that jersey and positioning themselves as his long-term replacement. For O'Gara, the elder native, Keatley recalls it was a case of 'look and learn'.
"With ROG, he wouldn't really talk to you, or give you advice or mentor you. I think everyone saw that when Johnny Sexton came onto the (Ireland) scene and how everything worked with the two of them."
On the latest episode House of Rugby Ireland, Keatley told Ian Madigan and Eimear Considine about how he learned more from watching O'Gara than he had during his playing days at Connacht. He also told a great story about O'Gara's no-nonsense advice to Hanrahan ahead of a game against Connacht.
LISTEN to that O'Gara-Hanrahan story (from 1:01:25 below) and hear Keatley speak about his most treasured Munster jersey.
Having learned as deputy to Ronan O'Gara in his first two seasons at Munster, Keatley went on to play six more at the southern province and rack up over 1,200 points for them. He is now helping to mentor the promising Italy outhalf Paolo Garbisi at Benetton Treviso and, no doubt, passing on a few gems along the way.
"You almost take a bit of credit, in a way," says Keatley, "but mainly you just want to help the younger guys out because you feel you have to give back to the game."
There was a lot more besides on the latest House of Rugby Ireland episode, including:
- The Rainbow Cup and the arrival of four new South African teams
- Ireland captain Ciara Griffin on playing on after a leg break
- Anthony Foley's Munster legacy
- The rugby highlights of an eventful 2020
YOU CAN WATCH THAT FULL EPISODE HERE:
SUBSCRIBE TO HOUSE OF RUGBY IRELAND HERE
Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts, and has already featured interviews with Brian O'Driscoll, Nigel Owens, Sean Cronin, Shane Williams, Mike Brown, CJ Stander, Ugo Monye, Sene Naoupu, Schalk Burger, Dan Leo, James Lowe, Marcell Coetzee, Ciaran Griffin and Ian Keatley.