Long Read

O’Gara and Sexton, Sexton and O’Gara: Irish rugby’s longest-running rivalry takes a new twist

What started as an intense rivalry for Ireland’s number 10 jersey grew into something of a master and apprentice relationship and ultimately a friendship. But next week, Johnny Sexton and Ronan O’Gara will face off against each other once again in the final of the Champions Cup. So who will come out on top?

Jonathan Sexton and Ronan O’Gara pictured in 2011: the rivalry between the two most influential players in Irish rugby over the last 20 years is legendary. Picture: Inpho

Take a look at Ronan O’Gara’s playing stats: they tell a tale. Two hundred and forty games for Munster, and 2,625 points. One hundred and twenty-eight games for Ireland, and 1,083 points. A grand slam with Ireland in 2009; four triple crowns; three Lions tours; four European finals, two of which he won; and a domestic league title.

He was a giant of Irish rugby long before he quit the game, and his fame and ...