ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Thursday Aug 9, 2018

After title success with the Crusaders, O'Gara's coaching path should be clear

After steering the Crusaders to a Super Rugby title alongside Scott Robertson, there is talk once more that former internationalist Ronan O’Gara could be one of the contenders for the Ireland head coach role when Joe Schmidt’s current contract expires after next year’s World Cup.

O’Gara made the move into coaching following his international retirement in 2013, joining the Racing 92 setup in Paris. During his time there as defence coach (the irony of this is not lost on this writer), O’Gara helped the Top 14 side reach the final of the European Champions Cup and win the French league for the first time since 1990.

O’Gara had been given a contract extension but was released a year early in order to join the Crusaders. His eight-month stint as Assistant Backs Coach with the Christchurch-based side has already yielded the Super Rugby title, and a 12-month contract renewal.

So is O’Gara in the prime seat to replace Schmidt?

It’s hard to believe that O’Gara is at the level of Schmidt, or ever will be, but that is no barometer of how the former Ireland stand-off is as a coach.

Firstly, the Crusaders certainly saw enough in O’Gara to offer him a contract in the first place, and it speaks volumes that with all the coaching prowess in New Zealand, they opted for an outsider of sorts to join the setup.

On top of that, they’ve asked him to stay for another year. That shouldn’t be a surprise because the Crusaders are all about progression and perseverance. They know Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same applies to its staff.

But O’Gara is still in his coaching infancy and, make no bones about it, he has one year to stake his claim for the Ireland job.

His determination and straight-talking certainly seems to have struck a chord within the Crusaders and he appears to be getting the best of the players. But much of that has already been instilled by a very specific Kiwi culture.

The fact of the matter is, O’Gara has joined a hugely successful, well-organised and minutely drilled squad, so to properly gauge how effective O’Gara is will only be seen at the end of his first full year.

WATCH: Super Rugby Final Highlights

But perhaps that is why he would make a strong Ireland coach. Having been part of the revolutionary squad of the early 2000s, O’Gara has seen the origins of what has made Ireland the second best team in the world right now.

Whether he does or does not make the step up to international coaching, O’Gara definitely feels his way of analysing the game has changed dramatically from his time in New Zealand.

In a column in the Irish Examiner, O’Gara says: “Razor [head coach Scott Robertson] showers you in his positivity. I would always have been looking to see what could go wrong in a game; he looks to see what will go right. Scott’s glass is never less than half-full.

“Mine’s now the same, largely because of him.

“It’s been almost weird being a sidecar passenger on your own development, knowing it’s happening but being too focused to stop and admire it. I’ve never been involved in such an intensely focused campaign of rugby as this one.

“Amid the incessant demands and the frenetic nature of week-on-week pro sport, everything seems to be crystal clear. It’s strange.”

O’Gara’s former Munster and Ireland team-mate Alan Quinlan told Newstalk’s Off the Ball in June that a return to Ireland next year is key to O’Gara’s international ambitions.

Quinlan believes the current Leinster setup headed by Leo Cullen will take over when Schmidt decides to stand down, with O’Gara moving into Cullen’s shoes at the province.

O’Gara is a staunchly proud Munsterman so the idea of this is difficult to imagine. But if O’Gara’s coaching ambitions are higher than his provincial pride, this may be the next step.

What is certain is that O’Gara is developing a brand of coaching which could one day lead to the top job.

credit: offtheball

ADVERTISEMENT

Related Articles

  • 88 WEEKS AGO

    scottish prop saves fire victim

  • 92 WEEKS AGO

    New Rugby X tournament insane

  • 120 WEEKS AGO

    Vunipola stands by his comments supporting...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    No other player has mastered intercepts like Bryan Habana could

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: French flair lights up Brisbane with EPIC coast-to-coast try

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Watch how Marcus Smith lit up Twickenham on England debut vs USA

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Extended highlights show why Josh Adams could be a Lions Test starter

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Aphelele Fassi: The debut Springbok that could change Warren Gatland's Lions selection

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Outspoken de Villiers gives his unique verdict on laws in Kolbe card debate

  • 1 DAY AGO

    This collection of brutal bump offs will remind you why you stopped playing rugby

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Kyle Sinckler biting citing dismissed due to lack of clear evidence

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    The Kyle Sinckler bite that will put him on the next plane home

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Kolbe's clumsy head-on-head with Tom Curry which angered fans

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Rugby Australia condemn Erasmus public 'attack', back their referee

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    RWC winning coach launches unbelievable one hour rant at officials

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    New Rassie video targets foul play, confirming fake twitter account was his

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Critics hit out at Rassie Erasmus for fake twitter and 'comical' behaviour

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Awesome Daly kicking montage shows just how deadly his left boot really is

View All

Funnies

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Five minutes of rugby comedy gold in one hilarious video

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Unimpressed Vunipola loses patience with Cheslin Kolbe in Cape Town

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    New compilation of rare Nigel Owens footage is comedy gold

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    The moment Ellis Genge soaks Ugo Monye live on TV is simply priceless

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Inside the Quins changing rooms after winning AWESOME Prem final

View All

Amateur

  • 39 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 76 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 77 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 77 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 77 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    A deeper look at Jason Robinson's incredible path to the top

  • 23 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bumping off tacklers and taking high balls, Rob Kearney had an impressive Super Rugby debut

  • 29 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 30 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 36 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

View All