Life in New Zealand begins with a ’shake, rattle and roll’ for Ronan O’Gara

Ronan O’Gara is settling into life at the Crusaders in Canterbury, although he was jolted out of any pre-season tranquility by an earthquake that hit the city last weekend.

Writing in his column in Friday’s Irish Examiner, O’Gara describes the shock of being woken up on Saturday night as the walls of his house shook.

Crusaders Squad Training, Rugby Park, Christchurch, Tim Tim Bateman and assistant coach Ronan O’Gara. Photo Credit: ©INPHO/Photosport/John Davidson

“Last Saturday night we had a 4.2 magnitude quake that left us hanging onto the bed. Quite literally, we didn’t know what was going on.

“You are sound asleep. Am I dreaming this or no? The bed moved at least a foot off the wall. The kids slept through it, but Jessica had been watching YouTube footage earlier in the night about the 2011 earthquake here, so she was fairly wound up anyway.

“I’ve been thrown around like a child’s doll a few times over the years, been spun arse over kettle like a washing machine cycle by back rows. But I’ve been awake and had boots on at the time. On this occasion I was comatose in my pyjamas.

“If I don’t feel the shake, rattle and roll sensation of an earthquake for the rest of my days, it won’t be something I’ll miss."

A 6.3 force quake in Christchurch killed 185 people in 2011. It remains New Zealand’s fifth-deadliest disaster.

“Christchurch as a city may never recover psychologically from the trauma of what happened here in 2011,” O’Gara writes.

“But the tragedy bred a very matter-of-fact attitude to earthquakes – they happen. It doesn’t make it any easier to experience what occurred last weekend - but it’s not a shock now to the locals. And they accept that there may be relatively small tremors from time to time.”

“It puts into perspective the sporting hyperbole we feed off but it didn’t change anything on Monday. It was training as usual for the Crusaders.”

Read Ronan O’Gara’s thoughts on the Champions Cup quarter-final line-up and Ireland’s Six Nations prospects first and exclusively in the Irish Examiner.

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