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

  • 131 WEEKS AGO

    scottish prop saves fire victim

  • 135 WEEKS AGO

    New Rugby X tournament insane

  • 162 WEEKS AGO

    Vunipola stands by his comments supporting...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Watch: Blues score two STUNNING tries against Queensland Reds

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Racing 92 know how play ‘GORGEOUS’ rugby

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Teddy Thomas rinses defence with BLISTERING pace

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Every Ulster try scored in Europe this season..and it’s glorious!

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Fijian Drua show RIDICULOUS skillset and can score from anywhere

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Fans outraged after shocking Owen Farrell moment

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Big Rugby Collision In South African Schools Match

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Sickening Shot Leaves Motionless

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Hardest hit of all time

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Duhan Van der Merwe makes INCREDIBLE try saving tackle

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Hooker scores masterful try

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Tadhg Furlong produces one of the best ever passes by a forward

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Hardest hit of all time

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Leicester Tigers respond to hilarious fan incident

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Thrilling clash between Munster and Toulouse settled by a place kick shootout

View All

Funnies

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Watch: The Internet Remains Undefeated In Champions Cup Build-Up

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: First It Was BoJo Now It's ScoMo

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Dad and 7 sons in Ireland forward pack

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Shocking mistake by Brumbies fullback prevents a certain try

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    Ellis Genge hits back at Brian Moore

View All

Amateur

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Watch: Epic Speech Epitomises Rugby Values

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Epic touchline conversion from Tighthead seals the deal

  • 14 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Veteran props compared to Tadhg Furlong in new viral video

  • 82 WEEKS AGO

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

  • 119 WEEKS AGO

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

View All

Player Features

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Israel Folau named back in international rugby today!

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    James Haskell sends twitter into another meltdown

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Harlequins full-back to leave at the end of the season

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Fans shocked after some huge recalls in the England squad

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Huge opportunity for young prodigy

View All