O'Gara: Business as usual for Ireland

PA Sport
Ronan O'Gara believes Ireland's peformance against New Zealand is a sign they are returning to normal

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Ronan O'Gara believes Ireland's peformance against New Zealand is a sign they are returning to norma …

Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara is confident his side's improved showing in the second Test against New Zealand proves that "normal service has resumed".

O'Gara revealed that Ireland's poor performance in the first Test at Eden Park, when the side lost 42-10, had shaken the squad.

"It shouldn't take something like that to give us a boot up the backside. We have our standards, have our values, for, a lot of us, the last 10 or 12 years," O'Gara said.

"Those standards were poor in Auckland but I hope that normal service has resumed. The other side of it is that there is plenty to improve on so we'd like to think we can improve on last week's performance."

They were a changed side in Christchurch at the weekend, when only a late Dan Carter drop-goal earned victory for an All Blacks side down to 14 men following the late sin-binning of Israel Dagg.

O'Gara recalled that Ireland made a habit of closing out close games when they won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009 but admits they have struggled to replicate that form.

He said: "That's what winning teams do and that is exactly what we were like during the year of the Grand Slam. You know where the finishing line is and you do whatever it takes to get over it.

"That is a massive skill in itself and there was massive trust between the players. I think that, since then, there has been a fair bit of change in the team, we are trying to develop."

New Zealand coach Steve Hanson claimed after Saturday's clash that the narrow defeat represented Ireland's peak, but O'Gara shrugged off his comments.

"We all speak with emotions sometimes and that was what Steve felt at the time. I would have no problem with that," he said.

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