Sunday 8 December 2019

Ronan O'Gara has had his say on Andy Farrell joining Joe Schmidt's backroom team

Ronan O'Gara and Andy Farrell
Ronan O'Gara and Andy Farrell

Cormac Byrne

Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara has back the IRFU in their move to bring former England assistant Andy Farrell in as an assistant boss as a 'masterstroke'.

The Racing Metro defence coach had been linked with the role following Ireland's Rugby World Cup exit but is clearly pleased with the man chosen to replace Les Kiss after the Six Nations.

Speaking on Game On on 2FM, O'Gara outlined how he believed Farrell would fit into the system and how his presence would be even more important given the retirement of Paul O'Connell last year.

"I was shocked to hear he was 40, he's been coaching a long time. I think he started playing league when he was 16 and he put a lot into both his careers and now his coaching career with England, Lions, Ireland... he's very much competing at the elite level," he said

"He must be excellent.

"I've only played against him, Munster against Saracens.  I don't know much about his philosophy or what his beliefs are but he's a born winner, he's a competitor.

"It'll be great in the fact that with Paul O'Connell going, he has presence and he's a hard nut, he'll intimidate people and he'll intimidate opposing teams and I think people will buy into what he believes in."

Some people have voiced their concern over the appointment, especially given the nature of England's world cup exit and the controversy surrounding the inclusion of Sam Burgess in the centre for the defeat to Wales.

"We can be reading a lot into a decision to back an ex-rugby league player to start for England against Wales. I don't think that decision cost England the game. There were many opportunities to win the game," he added.

"There were different reports and different perceptions about him but only the English players know exactly what went on so it's better that they speak about that.

"From an Irish players point of view, I think it's a great coup for them because I think as a player as that level, everyone gets doubts and someone like that will leave you with know doubts, he'll fill you with confidence.

"He'll have set goals for the team and I think he'll get a huge amount out of the 23-28 year olds and that is a crucial point for people to be peaking at on the international stage.

"It's a masterstroke from the union."

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The problem with the Champions Cup, the Stephen Larkham effect and trouble in Welsh rugby

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport