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Duncan McRae reveals his side to horrendous O'Gara punch-up on 2001 Lions tour

BY Shaywaterworth  ·  Sunday Nov 21, 2021

Former Waratahs full back Duncan McRae has opened up on the infamous incident between him and Ireland legend Ronan O’Gara during the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour.

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McRae was shown a red card and received a seven-week ban for assault after throwing several punches to O’Gara’s face while the fly-half lay on the floor.

The Australian joined Sean Maloney on Stan Sport show Between Two Posts and talked about what led to his actions at Sydney Football Stadium 20 years ago.

“I don’t know what I was doing near a ruck, firstly, because I was never there, but he (O’Gara) sort of came to elbow me and I’ve just caught his elbow straight in my face,” said McRae.

“I thought ‘f**k you’, and the same thing happened 15 minutes later. I’ve got up and seen him at the last second – elbows me straight in the face.

“I’ve just caught him and I’ve swung him under and he sort of ended up on the ground right under me. I just said to him, ‘what the f…. are you going to do, champ?’ And he’s just kicked me straight in the nuts so I’ve just pinned him and the rest is history.”

O’Gara, who made 128 appearances for Ireland over a 13-year period, later wrote about the incident in his autobiography.

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“Two lacerations under my left eye needed eight stitches but the pain of that was nothing compared to the humiliation. Why didn’t I try to defend myself?,” wrote O’Gara.

“In the dressing room I was f**king raging. Raging with myself. Raging with McRae. When the game was over I wanted to go into their dressing room and have a cut off him.”

This game against the Brumbies went down in history as one of the biggest grudge matches in the history of professional rugby.

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