Monday 26 August 2019

Crusaders legend Richie McCaw says Ronan O'Gara will thrive in New Zealand


Ronan O'Gara and (inset) Richie McCaw
Ronan O'Gara and (inset) Richie McCaw
All Blacks legend Richie McCaw (pictured) has backed Ronan O’Gara to succeed in New Zealand. Photo: Reuters

Ruaidhri O'Connor​

Richie McCaw has backed Ronan O'Gara to succeed in New Zealand after the Ireland legend confirmed his move to the former All Black captain's old club, the Crusaders.

Racing 92 yesterday released their assistant coach from his contract to allow him join the Super Rugby champions on an initial one-year deal that will see him take a pay-cut of around €50,000 in order to further his coaching knowledge.

O'Gara, who has been with the French club since 2013 and was contracted until the end of next season, negotiated a release to allow him take up his new position in Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island.

McCaw spent his entire playing career with the Crusaders and made his international debut alongside their head coach Scott Robertson.

And he is excited to see how his former adversary O'Gara gets on in what is a rare move by a Northern Hemisphere coach.

"It's quite exciting from a Crusaders point of view to have a first Northern Hemisphere influence," he said.

"I'm guessing that the time Ronan had at Racing around guys like Dan Carter and Casey Laulala, he felt it was the right place to go. The Crusaders boys will ask the same questions. There is no doubt that he has a pretty good rugby brain and he will bring new ideas that the Crusaders boys will be keen to hear."

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McCaw believes O'Gara will embrace the Crusaders' culture.

"The Crusaders are traditionally the most successful franchise in Super Rugby. The culture and what the team stands for has been pretty well set up right from day one, led by guys like Wayne Smith and Todd Blackadder," he said. "It's got a great culture, it's just come off winning the last Super Rugby. It's a pretty successful franchise that do things pretty damn well.

"It's always a 'team comes first before the individual' type team. That's the ethos of the team. He will come into the team like that.

The guys there are always driven to be better and will want to pick Ronan's brain for experiences.

"I think it will be great. I'm sure he'll have different ways of looking at things, he'll probably take a while to see how Crusaders work.

"It's not as if he's coming in as head coach. He's obviously got his philosophy on how the team goes and build on what they did last year… having O'Gara there to add something different is a pretty good move."

O'Gara will serve another month with Racing, before moving to New Zealand at the end of next month. He thanked Racing for allowing him to leave and said he is looking forward to starting his new role.

"This is an exciting next step in my coaching career and one that my family and I are ready to make," he said. "It is clear that there is a special and successful culture at the Crusaders, which I feel honoured to be invited to be a part of."

AIG Ambassador Richie McCaw is helping promote AIG Ireland's Bring on Tomorrow campaign. For more information, please visit

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