Round-up: O'Gara dropped from Ireland squad


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The Independent Online

Ronan O'Gara has been left out of Ireland's extended 32-man squad for next weekend's Six Nations game with France.

The fly-half, 36 this week, is Ireland's most capped player with 128 appearances but has been in poor form this season.

After struggling against England and for Munster against Llanelli during the rest week, O'Gara's dreadful cross-kick deep in his own half was highlighted as Ireland lost to Scotland last weekend. That performance appears to have been the final straw for coach Declan Kidney, who has named injury doubt Jonathan Sexton and the inexperience Paddy Jackson and Ian Madigan as his three fly-half options for Saturday's game at the Aviva Stadium.

The Harlequins' director of rugby, Conor O'Shea, was disappointed by his side's poor performance as the Premiership leaders lost 27-16 to Exeter at The Stoop on Saturday.

"I'm frustrated," O'Shea said. "We were tired out with all the tackling we had to do as a result of coughing up possession.

The Northampton director of rugby, Jim Mallinder, feels Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes have given England's head coach, Stuart Lancaster, a selection dilemma after the pair, freed from England's Six Nations party to play against London Irish after disappointing against France, inspired Saints' 40-14 win. "[They] put their bodies on the line," Mallinder said.