Ronan O'Gara candidly discusses what he needs to do if he ever wants to coach Munster
"They, to use local slang, beat us out the door in Paris so how could they fear us?"
Ronan O'Gara was one of the loudest, clearest voices at Racing 92's training ground in Colombes this week. The 32-7 caning by Munster at Stade Yves du Manoir had stung and stung badly.
The French Top 14 champions would not be reaching another Champions Cup final, they knew that well by the turn of the year, but there was still a domestic title to retain and souls to search. O'Gara took the lead in many of Racing's team talks.
They were heading to a part of the world where he was revered but the hosts and home fans would give Racing no change. Not a cent. O'Gara's post-match comments summed up the mind-set he tried to instil within the Racing squad:
"There's something about it [Thomond Park] that brings out the best in you. There's something really challenging, you know, 30 people against 26,000. If you can understand the mentality of that, you can take immense satisfaction out of doing that.
"And teams will look to do that - I suppose, create that environment of David versus Goliath."
Munster [Over €9m in the red and sixth in last year's PRO12] the Goliath against Racing [owned by billionaire Jack Lorenzetti and the reigning French champs] in the role of David. Interesting sell but Munster were not buying. A 22-10 loss for Racing but an order of pride restored.
O'Gara spoke of pride, too, in the warm welcome he received on his Friday night back in Limerick. The two days he spent in a town he once ruled will be fondly remembered in years to come.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) January 21, 2017
O'Gara was asked if nights like Saturday in Thomond Park made him pine for the prospect of one day returning to Munster as head coach. He considered, then replied:
"Em, no. Not really because I know what these nights are like. If you want to coach Munster you have to be a really good coach. I'm not a really good coach so I have to work on that and go see how other teams and other cultures work.
"Then, when I get that right, I may be in a position to put my hand up but you've got to earn that."
O'Gara is into his fourth season of coaching in France and, if he sees out his current contract, will be in Paris until 2019. His big decision may come sooner than that as taking up a head coaching role elsewhere may help him on his journey to become the man Munster need.
"It's very different, playing to coaching," he reflected.
"It's completely different. It's not really related. It's something I am understanding but it's understanding in the fast lane."