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Page last updated at 21:58 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 22:58 UK

O'Gara angered by Kings tactics

By Simon Austin
BBC Sport in Port Elizabeth

Lions fly-half Ronan O'Gara tackles the Kings's Josh Fowles
O'Gara (right) was far from impressed by the Kings' aggression

Ronan O'Gara accused the Southern Kings of trying "to take a scalp" after the Lions emerged from their final warm-up game with a 20-8 victory.

O'Gara was unimpressed by a series of late and high tackles that marred the game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

"They were more interested in kicking lumps out of us than scoring or keeping the score down," he told BBC Sport.

"The other teams we've faced have been passionate and proud, but these guys fancied themselves to take a scalp."

O'Gara, 32, came on as a replacement for James Hook, who suffered a neck injury in the first half.

The Ireland fly-half added: "We were prepared for what they threw at us and controlled things well in the second half.

"Our line-out struggled a little bit and we were sloppy at the break down."

I am really proud of the discipline we showed

Lions assistant coach Rob Howley

O'Gara admitted he was a little disappointed with his own performance in the Lions' final match before Saturday's first Test against the Springboks.

"The game was so far off Test-match intensity that I found it hard," he said. "That's when I play my best, when it's very intense.

"And I hadn't expected to come on, although that isn't an excuse. It was a hard place and a very hard pitch."

The players will find out if they have made the Test team on Wednesday morning and O'Gara feels he has given a good account of himself on tour.

"I feel I am playing well but it's out of my hands," he said. "I feel I have given my best and I can go to bed knowing I've given it all I can."

Head coach Ian McGeechan praised his players for showing restraint despite the sometimes dubious tactics of the Southern Kings.

"I am really proud of the discipline we showed," the Scot said. "It just shows the focus the players have and they got their reward."

McGeechan was relieved that prop Euan Murray had sprained and not fractured his ankle.

And he said Hook had suffered a "blow to the head", which he did not think was serious.

Both players will be assessed by the Lions medical staff on Wednesday.

Stand-in captain Donncha O'Callaghan described the Lions' final warm-up game as "full-on" and "manic".

"It was hugely physical," said the Ireland and Munster second row.

"They really put it up to us and everyone will know they were in a big, physical match, which will stand us well."

Howley added the Lions were "very frustrated and very disappointed" by the performance.

"It's a disappointed changing room but it's a win. Fortunately we haven't got too many injuries, it's six from six and we're looking forward to Saturday," he said.



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see also
Southern Kings 8-20 Lions
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Kings v Lions as it happened
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Wing Williams eager for Test call
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Martyn Williams column
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Brussow handed Springboks start
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Injured Kearney out of Kings game
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Western Province v Lions as it happened
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2009 Lions: Squad & results
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Rugby union on the BBC
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Rugby union positions guide
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