Thursday 17 August 2017

'We're going to put him to work' - Joe Schmidt to bring in Ronan O'Gara to coach in Ireland camp

Ireland captain Rory Best, left, with former Ireland international Ronan O'Gara ahead of the Autumn International match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ireland captain Rory Best, left, with former Ireland international Ronan O'Gara ahead of the Autumn International match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has said that he will bring in former Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara to Irish camp during the summer as Ireland prepare for their upcoming tour of the USA and Japan in June.

Ireland will take on the United States in New Jersey on June 10, before heading to Japan to take on the Brave Blossoms in Fukuroi City on June 17, and then again in Tokyo on June 24, as Schmidt looks to blood in some new players with a host of Ireland's first team expected to be unavailable with the British and Irish Lions touring in New Zealand at the same time.

However, Schmidt is not only looking to bring in new players to the national squad this summer, but also new coaches too, with O'Gara being targeted by the New Zealander as a potential skills coach for the two tours.

"I’ve had a lot of conversations with Ronan over the years, and especially with him being in France and my experiences over there," Schmidt, a former Clermont coach, told RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Sport on Sunday afternoon.

"We conversed often on what’s happening over there and a little bit of what’s happening here.

"He’s indicated that he’s keen to get into the environment just to get a bit of a look so we’re going to put him to work and he’s going to do some skills-coach work with us.

"Girvan Dempsey, who is I think, growing in confidence all the time in his role in Leinster, and the same with Felix Jones who has made a really positive impression under Rassie Erasmus and Munster.

"I think they are three outstanding young men who have fantastic potential to be coaching in this country and we want to try and get the best out of them on tour.

"[We want] to give them all an opportunity so they are overlapping for the best past of eight to ten days the first one [O’Gara] and nine days for the other two.

"I’m really looking forward to working with them. I’ve obviously worked with Girv before and I’ve worked with Felix in a coach-player relationship. He was superb to coach as a player.

"I’ve known Ronan for a long time. They’ll add a bit of a spark to the coaching group."

Commenting on his role within the Irish setup, O'Gara has previously said: "Basically the role will be skills and hopefully working with the young number 10s.

"Depending on who goes it could be a number of young players and as you know it's a position you get better with age.

"It's important that their basic skills are good, especially their confidence levels are good. Hopefully I can pass on one or two learning tools and get to work with everybody."

O'Gara is currently an assistant coach with reigning Top 14 champions Racing 92.

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