Ronan O'Gara addresses links to All Blacks coaching role
The All Blacks are putting together a new coaching ticket for 2024.
Former Munster and Ireland fly half Ronan O'Gara has addressed rumours that he may be set for his first taste of coaching at international level, with numerous reports this week linking him to a role with the All Blacks.
O'Gara of course has prior experience with coaching in New Zealand, having worked as an assistant coach at the Canterbury Crusaders for the 2018/19 Super Rugby season.
The man at the helm of New Zealand's most successful club side during O'Gara's sojourn in Christchurch was none other than newly-appointed All Blacks head coach, Scott Robertson.
Robertson, who guided the Crusaders to five consecutive Super Rugby titles, has been chosen to succeed current All Blacks head coach Ian Foster following the conclusion of this autumn's Rugby World Cup.
A former All Black back row himself, Robertson had as recently as last year spoken about how highly he rates the coaching qualities and rugby intellect of O'Gara, fuelling speculation that the pair could once again reunite in Test rugby.
"Would I coach with him again? Yeah I would. I love that he's become a head coach, he's got a little bit of charisma, and for whatever reason players trust him. That's hard... For him to do what he's done (at La Rochelle) is pretty special", said Robertson.
The La Rochelle head coach has also been issuing intriguing statements regarding his own coaching future in recent times, with O'Gara describing the allure of Test rugby as "appealing" and confessing that "a bit of me would love to have a crack at a World Cup".
However, in the 46-year-old's weekly Irish Examiner column, he appeared to pour cold water on the notion that he could be angling for a reunion with Robertson as an All Black assistant coach.
Suggesting the timing of it all was a key issue, O'Gara stated "Maybe if this was after our Crusaders stint, or some time in the future when coaches will be moving more freely between the hemispheres, it would have been an intriguing proposition".
Having just penned a new five-year deal last Christmas to keep him at La Rochelle until 2027, the Cork man also reiterated his commitment to the coastal French club, saying that "'My energy now is for the club game at least for another cycle, so then we can see what happens".
However, concluding his column with a rhetorical question of sorts, Ireland's second most capped player of all time left a kernel of insight for any eagle-eyed readers, insinuating that a branching out into Test rugby is still very much on his mind.
"Were there games in the Six Nations where you think, I could have a positive impact on the way that team is playing? That I could add something a bit different to what they are doing?"
Anyone familiar with the mentality of the Grand Slam winning ten should know that the answer to that question- undoubtedly a resounding 'yes'.
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