Thursday 17 August 2017

Confirmed! Ronan O'Gara set to join Ireland coaching staff for summer tour to USA and Japan

7 January 2017; Racing 92 coach Ronan O'Gara prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 1 match between Racing 92 and Munster at the Stade Yves-Du-Manoir in Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
7 January 2017; Racing 92 coach Ronan O'Gara prior to the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 1 match between Racing 92 and Munster at the Stade Yves-Du-Manoir in Paris, France. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning

Ronan O’Gara is to join former teammates Girvan Dempsey and Felix Jones as part of an extended coaching team on Ireland’s summer tour to the US and Japan.

All three are likely to be included at different stages on the three-Tests trip as an opportunity to further develop the crop of home-grown coaches in the Irish professional game. While Dempsey and Jones are already tied in to Leinster and Munster respectively, this would be O’Gara’s first involvement as a coach in an Irish context since retiring as a player in 2013. A few months after that decision he moved straight into professional coaching as an assistant with Racing 92, the current Top 14 champions.

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O’Gara signed a contract extension last year keeping him in Paris until 2019, but it’s understood his long term plans would be to get into the coaching set up back in Ireland, ideally with Munster. Given the uncertainty around the future of Rassie Erasmus with the province, it is significant for O’Gara to get an involvement in the Irish set-up.

While Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell will be tied up with the Lions tour to New Zealand, it’s understood none of the three additions will be asked to fill that gap. Rather, their input will be on skills coaching. Moreover it’s likely each will spend a week with the squad rather than having all three there at the same time.

Jones, the attack skills coach under Erasmus, retired through injury in 2015 and joined the provincial coaching staff six months later. Dempsey, Leinster’s backs coach, wrapped up his playing career in 2010 and became an elite player development officer with Leinster shortly after that.

O'Gara confirmed Independent.ie's exclusive this evening on SportsJoe live that he would be with the Ireland squad for the first week in the US as a skills coach.

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