“We can laugh at ourselves, ya know?
We found Ronan O’Gara in top form when discussing his recent, rousing speeches, Jack Crowley getting the Irish 10 jersey and a ‘key weapon’ for France in the Six Nations.
O’Gara has proved he can mine some added comedy from one of his most famous dressing room speeches since he switched his rugby boots for the coach’s trackie. The former Ireland outhalf has leaned into a viral La Rochelle team-talk to deliver a ‘l’opportunité’ c’est enorme!’ speech for a new campaign.
O’Gara delivered the rallying cry for a new Guinness campaign, ahead of Ireland’s opening game, against France, in the 2024 Men’s Six Nations [watch below].
“We can laugh at ourselves, you know,” he told SportsJOE. “That’s the most important thing. “It was obviously very serious time [at La Rochelle], but a lot of good came from that fantastic season.
“Sometimes people don’t understand that you’re under a live camera for a lot of your work. So, I suppose the point is that when you’re coaching, no matter what language it is in, you have to try and get your message across. It’s very, very basic, French or English at the same time! I’ve got a really good bunch of boys and you have fun with them. They obviously haven’t seen [the new video] so there will be good laughs, when they do, for the next few weeks, that’s for sure.”
Ireland go into their first Six Nations since 2010 without Johnny Sexton. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)
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Ronan O’Gara on Jack Crowley
Having seen him up close for the past few seasons, at La Rochelle, Ronan O’Gara believes Jonathan Danty will have a big influence on Friday night’s game between Ireland and France.
“Dante is a key weapon for France and I really do feel that they’re a different team when he plays,” he said. On the No.10 choices for Ireland, O’Gara commented:
“Obviously, it’s a no brainer that Johnny Sexton would be missed, but we always knew that day would come. Now it is the post-Johnny period and it’s an opportunity for Jack Crowley to grasp it. But it’s also an opportunity for Ciarán Frawley, an opportunity for Harry Byrne, and Ross Byrne, who is injured at the minute. And there’s also an opportunity for Sam Prendergast.
“All these guys have massive ambition, and dreams, and want to do the best they can in a green jersey. That starts on Friday night. Jack will get first crack at it. If he’s good, he’d get a go, but he won’t have endless chances, unless he does the business. The signs for me are very positive in the fact that I don’t think he’s put off his game by making mistakes.
“I think he’s mentally very strong and I think he’s very well prepared. He understands the game very well and he understands what pictures to attack and understands what pictures to kick. So, he’s an instinctive player, yet he’s proved he can be a structured player. That’s what you need to be as a 10.”
O’Gara says he has also been impressed by ‘fantastic rugby player’ Ciarán Frawley but notes, “If he wants to be a 10, he needs to play every week. One in three weeks won’t be good enough to be the best 10 in Ireland. That’s the reality.”
The Cork native also feels the Byrne brothers ‘have a lot to offer’ in the Test arena as there is not only a chess game element to the game, at that level, but ‘cat-and-mouse’ tactics.
Crowley gets first crack at the 10 role, this Friday, and will get a few games to prove he has what it takes. As O’Gara notes, though, there is a long line of suitors for that role.
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