Wednesday 20 February 2019

Munster's Ronan O'Gara backs worldwide search for new coach

Munster should continue to trawl the world for their next head coach, according to Ronan O'Gara.

Many Munster supporters and pundits believe that current assistant Anthony Foley should be handed the reins this summer after Tony McGahan departs.

But Ireland out-half O'Gara (pictured), who was consulted by chief executive Garret Fitzgerald about the search, insists that every possible situation should be examined in the aftermath of another European failure.

"It's a big one," he says. "I'll tell you straight out, I've heard rumblings, but I haven't put any great thought into it because I thought there was an awful lot left in this season.

"It has come into my mind in the last 24 hours. I don't know. You'd hope they'd trawl the world for the best possible coach."

Asked if the best option could be under their very noses, O'Gara demurred: "You don't know that. It's very easy to presume that. It's such a big job. The right decisions deserve to be made. A big club like Munster would appeal to a lot of coaches. It's an interesting position we're in.

"Joe Schmidt was a backs coach before and he's raved about now in Irish rugby. Tony McGahan didn't have much of a pedigree before he came over here, but he's been very good.

"So it's very important that you get the right man because I hope we're not having another post-mortem this time next year.

"You have to take the best option. Everything has to be considered in terms of what you're looking to fulfil here. Anthony Foley may well be the best candidate.

"But you're placing your trust in these people to make sure that they have examined every possible situation to come up with the best possible coach. That's what's needed.

"I was spoken to once by the chief executive. I didn't really have much input to the questions he was asking me at that stage because my head was on the rugby side of things."

Foley is one of a number shortlisted to become McGahan's successor, alongside John Kirwan, Pat Lam, Wayne Smith, Rob Penney and Nick Mallett.

Munster back-row James Coughlan will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on a broken hand, but the club are confident that centre Keith Earls will return to action this month as he awaits further tests on his leg injury

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