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Keane: I knew the All Blacks would go after ROG - when I met him for dinner, I warned him

Roy Keane was an unlikely double-agent when the Irish rugby team played New Zealand in 2008.
Oct 23rd 2014, 12:59 PM 31,769 26

ROY KEANE HAS revealed how he got the inside track on the All Blacks’ plans for a game against Ireland — and warned Ronan O’Gara that they would target him.

Keane spent a week with the world’s best rugby team in the summer of 2008, studying their methods as part of his UEFA Pro Licence.

He was allowed to sit in on team meetings as the All Blacks planned for a one-off Test against Ireland in Wellington that weekend, and learned of their tactic to attack O’Gara’s defensive channel.

“The All Blacks were brilliant and let me in on all the meetings,” Keane said last night in a public interview to promote his new book The Second Half.

“When I got there on the Monday morning, the coach [Graham Henry] introduced me to all the players and told them I was there as part of my pro licence.

“I got to watch all the training sessions and ate with the players for the week. I was trying to find an insight into what makes the All Blacks so special and I had to write a report and bring it back.

They started the meeting and I just sat at the end. The first name they read out was Ronan O’Gara and they said: ‘We’ll go for him every time.’ ‘He’s the weakness, can’t tackle.’ ‘Every time you get it, run at him.’

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“So I was sitting there going, ‘I can’t wait to tell him!’”

That opportunity came over dinner a few days before the game, which Ireland lost 21-11.

“Wellington is very small and I met some of the Irish lads – Paul O’Connell and Ronan. They asked me did I fancy going for a bite to eat and I said yeah so three or four of them turned up.

They went: ‘How’s it going with the All Blacks?’ and I said: ‘I can’t wait to tell you!’

“I told them that it was brilliant and they were really kind to me, that I got a bit of Q&A with them and we were talking about football, and generally that the All Blacks were brilliant towards me.

“So we’re having a bite to eat and Ronan went: ‘Have they mentioned me?’ and I went: ‘Oh yeah Ronan, you’re getting it on Saturday!’

“He said: ‘I knew it, they always go for me!’”

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