Legendary former Ireland rugby star Keith Wood has backed Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from the sport, praising his 36-year-old for his fantastic career.

"He's had the most phenomenal career, and has achieved everything that's possible in the game," Wood told GiveMeSport

"I'm delighted he's retired because I think it's the right time to do it, and I hope he has a really successful career as a coach."

Former fly-half O'Gara, who has 128 appearances and 1,083 points for Ireland, as well as 240 appearance and 2,625 points for Munster, retired last month after 16 years as a professional. 

His decision followed weeks of speculation which begun following Munster's semi-final defeat to ASM Clermont Auvergne in the 2012-12 Heineken Cup semi-finals. 

Despite being offered a one-year contract extension by his club, for whom he has been with for his entire career, O'Gara turned down the deal so as to pursue a coaching role with French side Racing Metro 92. 

"I have ambitions in the years ahead to coach at a high level," O'Gara told reporters of The Irish Examiner. "I am trusting my instinct and it is telling me now is the appropriate time to stop (playing). Could I have played on for another year?

"Of course I could, but I feel it's getting harder and harder every season and I want to leave the game at the height of my powers. 

"Had I already decided to retire before the (Heineken Cup semi-final) loss in Montpellier last month? I kind of knew. My lads are gone. My boys in the team are gone.

"I retire as Ireland's most-capped player, but the decision of a certain Leinster man to keep playing suggests it won't be for long. 

"Time to hang up the boots Brian (O'Driscoll)! Not being able to close out that Ireland career in my own way is a regret but one that was beyond my control. 

"The only thing I'd say would be that the most pleasing thing was winning the number 10 jersey back for the 2011 World Cup.

"That confirmed the belief I had in myself and the doggedness I had about myself."

 

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Topics:
Rugby Union
Ireland Rugby