Thursday 23 May 2019

O’Gara turns down Munster role as he eyes head coach position

Former out-half wants his next job to be as head coach and return to Ireland to be ‘on his own terms’

Ronan O’Gara has ruled out a return to Munster next season. Photo: Sportsfile
Ronan O’Gara has ruled out a return to Munster next season. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ronan O’Gara has ruled out a return to Munster next season after admitting that he has held talks with his former club.

Munster are in the market for a new attack coach to replace the outgoing Felix Jones, as well as a forwards/scrum coach to replace Jerry Flannery, but O’Gara was quick to pour cold water on any chance of a return to his home province as he revealed that he wants his next move to be as a head coach.

O’Gara, who has been offered a deal to stay on for a third season with the Crusaders in New Zealand, has been strongly linked with La Rochelle and although reports in France suggested that it was to become backs coach, he clarified that it was in fact to become head coach.

"No, that’s inaccurate," O’Gara told Off The Ball.

"Obviously Jono Gibbes is there and he is a director of rugby, but he wants someone to run the rugby programme and that’s what I am speaking to him about.

"That (head coach) would be the next position I would be looking at.

"There’s (other) options at home in Ireland. I have spoken to Munster, but there is no serious conversation in terms of a coaching position because I don’t really want it to go that route at the minute.

"If I am good enough then I can get a job at home on my terms.

"There’s some really tough decisions to make. So hopefully in the next 10 or 14 days there will be a decision. But nothing is done yet."

Meanwhile, Munster captain Peter O’Mahony is adamant that the province’s players will not be distracted by the coaching uncertainty this week, as they prepare to take on Leinster in Saturday’s sold-out PRO14 semi-final.

"There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll (Jones and Jerry Flannery) be firmly focused and on point with everything they do this week and that we’ll all be working in the same direction to getting this week as right as possible," O’Mahony said.

"We (players) try and take as much responsibility as we can every week.

"There’s a huge amount of responsibility that we do take on and it won’t be more or less this week.

"We’ve had our meeting, we’ve outlined what we need to do, what we want to do and what we want to drive as a group of players and that’s what we do every Monday when we meet up.

"It’s not any different this week."

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