Should O’Gara start ahead of Sexton?

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Updated: September 16, 2011

Former Irish centre Rob Henderson says Ronan O’Gara should start ahead of Johnny Sexton in Ireland’s crucial clash with Australia this weekend.

A win for Ireland would be a huge boost to the country’s chances of making the world cup semi-final and Henderson feels that half-back situation is going to be a vital against the Aussies.

“That’s where it’s going to be won and lost”, he said.

“Johnny plays the back line very well, he releases runners and he’s defensively a little bit stronger but ROG knows how to win the big games, he knows how to put big guys in the corners and his kicking game is second to none”, the former London Irish and Munster man said.

World Cup winner in 1995 and 1999 and former Australia full-back Matt Burke said that Sunday’s encounter is going to be another tough game between the two nations but both teams displays last weekend will give his countrymen hope of winning.

“We’ve always had a tough time against the Irish; ‘91 we struggled, ‘99 we struggled and again in 2003,” he said.

“But the performance against America I thought was pretty ordinary and the back half of the Aussie game we started to click so I think they might do the job pretty easy on the weekend”, he said.

Henderson though has an opposite view and says that the win over America will boost Ireland’s confidence after their poor run of form leading up to the world cup.

The performance against America was hindered he said by the weather conditions and the emotional occasion of the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks gave the Americans an extra reason to push themselves against Ireland.

“They gave everything they had in the locker, stood up and fronted up as men”, he said but Ireland will learn from the scrappy performance.

“Obviously disappointed not to get the bonus point but leading into the match with Australia this weekend they’ll be full of confidence”, he said.

“They’ll know the mistakes they’ve made, they’re professional enough and have been around long enough to raise themselves to next level that they will need to compete at to beat the Aussies.”

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