Sport Rugby

Friday 23 August 2019

Alan Quinlan: ROG moving to the Crusaders is as good as getting a PhD in rugby

Racing 92 defence coach Ronan O'Gara. Photo: Sportsfile
Racing 92 defence coach Ronan O'Gara. Photo: Sportsfile

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I've sat in enough dressing rooms alongside ROG down through the years and knowing him the way I do, he has never been afraid to make tough decisions, on or off the pitch.

That's one of his greatest traits. He's unbelievably resilient and I've always admired that about him.

Moving to the Crusaders is another massive call and he is showing remarkable bravery to take it on, especially with a young family who are quite settled now in Paris.

The easy option would be to stay with Racing and see out the remainder of his contract but taking the easy way out isn't in Ronan's DNA.

I don't think he needs to move because for me, he's at that stage now where he's ready to take on a top job anywhere. But this move is only going to enhance his reputation and teach him even more.

New Zealanders don't tend to look outside their own four walls so to come calling for ROG speaks volumes for how highly he is regarded in world rugby.

There is no way Scott Robertson would have just taken a punt on him because he is Ronan O'Gara and he has won 128 caps for Ireland.

The work he's has done at Racing carries serious weight and obviously Dan Carter has been instrumental in feeding that information back to the Crusaders.

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You're talking about one of, if not the best, club sides in the world. Being around seasoned All Blacks every day will accelerate his development to a whole new level and they will learn from him as well.

To get a chance to work with players of that calibre and see the way they train, their attitude, their skills, their philosophy - it's like sending someone away to get a PhD in rugby.

From what I hear, the club are just as excited that he agreed to join them as ROG is to get over to Canterbury after Christmas and get stuck in.

After his season in Super Rugby, there is no doubt in my mind that ROG will become one of the hottest coaching tickets in the world and he will have plenty of options.

He has already said that he plans to return to Paris for a year so that his kids can fully grasp the French language but, ultimately, there will be serious offers on the table.

ROG has always backed himself. His rugby intelligence has gotten him one of the most sought-after positions in world rugby. I never expected anything less.

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