Ronan O'Gara and Brian O'Driscoll may have played together for the last time. INPHO/Billy Stickland

'There comes a time when you don't match up to international standard' - WJ McBride

The Ireland and Lions legend feels O’Gara’s time is up.

WILLIE JOHN MCBRIDE scored his first and last try for Ireland in his final game in green, against France, at Lansdowne Road.

“I kept that trick up my sleeve until the last,” remarked the Ireland and Lions legend.

France are in town this weekend to play Ireland in a clash that many hoped would be a Six Nations title decider.

A combined five losses from six games means pride will be the main motivator for both sides. Ronan O’Gara, a fiercely proud man, will not be around to influence proceedings.

His axing from the Irish squad means that, in all likelihood, he has played his last game in the green jersey.

McBride told, “Ronan is coming up to 36 now. He is still a good player and has been a tremendous servant to Irish rugby.

“I’ve always been a great admirer of him.” McBride added: “There comes a time when what you’ve got doesn’t match up to the international standard. Nobody knows that more than me.”

Another cycle

McBride, who played 63 times at second-row for Ireland, believes the current squad has been bedivilled with injuries but were, nonetheless, disappointing against Scotland.

He said, “The current cycle has turned around but we’ve had a few good years. Declan Kidney is introducing a few younger players, which is good to see, but it might take them a couple of years to mature.”

McBride (left) talks to Declan Kidney and Gert Smal in 2009. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

One of the younger players that McBride has been impressed with is Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson, who looks set to wear the Irish 10 jersey against the French.

He commented, “He’s a good little player. It is not easy to come back [against Treviso] and take the kicks after a rough day of it in Scotland.

“He didn’t kick all of them [over] but he kicked the ones that mattered.”

McBride added: “He’ll need more experience before we get to see what he can really offer. I quite like him; he’s got a lot of promise.”

Perfect 10: Ronan O’Gara’s finest moments in an Ireland shirt

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