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Sunday 22 April 2018

Fluent O'Gara a little tense over French grammar

Ronan O’Gara and former President Mary Robinson at the launch the 1% Difference Campaign
Ronan O’Gara and former President Mary Robinson at the launch the 1% Difference Campaign
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

FORMER international rugby star Ronan O'Gara is brushing up on his language skills as he prepares for his move to Paris next month, where he faces the daunting task of coaching entirely in French.

The 36-year-old ex-Ireland and Munster fly-half is moving to Paris with his wife Jessica and the couple's four children on July 1 after he accepted a two-year contract as assistant coach with Racing Metro last month.

He announced his retirement at the end of the season after a glittering career in which he helped Munster win two Heineken Cups in 2006 and 2008 and famously kicked the winning drop goal that led Ireland to Grand Slam glory in 2009.

Yet despite his glittering career on the field – O'Gara retired as the highest-ever points scorer for both Ireland and Munster – he admitted he is a tad nervous about doing everything in French.

"I'll be coaching in French, speaking French, everything in French," he said.

"The tenses catch me, but the vocab is okay," he added.

But after poring over a few phrase books, he is confident his French skills, which he picked up at university, will come back.

However, it won't be the first time that he has put his language skills to the test.

He impressed French journalists when he conducted a post-match interview in their own language following Munster's win against Brive at the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final in the French city in 2011.

And even if some of his coaching tips get lost in translation, at least one player, Irish star Johnny Sexton, who has also joined the Paris club, will be speaking the same language.

Irish Independent

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