Friday 24 May 2019

Ronan O’Gara linked with return to Irish rugby as part of Joe Schmidt's coaching team

Ronan O’Gara has been linked with a return to Irish rugby
Ronan O’Gara has been linked with a return to Irish rugby

Declan Whooley

With Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt yet to confirm a replacement for defence coach Les Kiss , rumours have circulated that Ronan O’Gara could be set for a return to Irish rugby.

Ulster’s new Director of Rugby at Ulster played a key role in three Six Nations title successes including a Grand Slam in 2009 and the Racing Metro defence coach has been linked by 98FM with the vacancy in the coaching team.

O’Gara is in his third year working with the Top 14 club and earlier this season was linked with a role within Leinster.

"Obviously, I would take up a job at Leinster. I think anyone who's pretty serious about their rugby would want to work with their back-line," he said at the time while re-iterating his contentment at developing his skills at Racing.

Former Munster and Ireland team-mate Alan Quinlan believes O’Gara would add a huge wealth of experience to the Ireland set-up.

Writing in his Irish Independent column following Ireland’s disappointing World Cup exit at the hands of Argentina, Quinlan said the introduction of the likes of O’Gara and Brian O’Driscoll would be a positive step for the IRFU.

“Maybe it is time for an IRFU directive to coaches that an emphasis on ball skills rather than the direct game must be practised from U-10s up to our provincial teams,” he said.

“To encourage these basic skills to be honed, it is important that we have the best possible coaches in charge of this crucial education. It would be a good idea to look at getting the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Ronan O'Gara involved in the review process and planning ahead of the next World Cup.

“These guys have more than 260 Ireland caps between them and are the most naturally talented backs we've ever had. With Les Kiss leaving Schmidt's backroom team the appointment of a highly qualified replacement is crucial.”

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Writing in his Examiner column, the Munster legend said he would wait and see how events unfold in the coming weeks before deciding if he and his family will remain in France following the Paris attacks.

“Jessica is a bit scared too. Five children. Away from home. Probably yearning for Cork. The whole episode has us looking homewards again.

“Am I rattled? Damn right I am. This is too random. It keeps going around in my head now, my future here in Paris. Let’s see how the next few weeks pans out. You’d have to consider everything after what has happened.”

Sources have indicated to that while O'Gara would be open to the move, it is understood that no formal discussions have taken place with Schmidt currently out of the country.

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