Ronan O'Gara reveals how he's changed since joining the Crusaders 8 months ago

Ronan O'Gara reveals how he's changed since joining the Crusaders

Former Munster and Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara has said that he's changed since joining the Canterbury Crusaders last year.

O'Gara joined the defending Super Rugby champions as a backs coach at the beginning of last season and is nearing the end of his second campaign with the Christchurch side.

The Cork native was capped 128 times by Ireland and was selected on three British & Irish Lions tours, as well as a serving as an assistant coach with Racing 92, but he said that Robertson has been able to change how he views the game.

"I was a worrier, a massive worrier," O'Gara said on The 1014 Rugby show.

"Ireland is a small place and I actually thought everyone in Ireland and Munster watches my game and that's the only thing. It was so important. I put myself under massive internal stress and I needed that to perform in one way but then I didn't really.

"You could have enjoyed it more but Racing was different, the coaching was a little bit new to me and I enjoyed it but I was very much a cog in the management team.

"The Crusaders is like a Formula One team at a pit stop with the efficiency in which it runs. That's how this place operates. We are really dependent on each other, led by Ray (Scott Robertson) in terms of we have to have this run at maximisation. Get it going.

"I can remember the lightbulb moment. I can remember exactly where I was standing on the pitch. My past was influencing my thought process and I thought we [were going to get smashed] and he didn't see it like that."

The Crusaders were facing the Hurricanes in the midst of an injury crisis and O'Gara told Robertson that he didn't fancy their chances before the head coach came back at him with the opposite and said that he really fancied them against the favoured Canes and that he thought his side would have a real crack.

It was a shift in mentality for O'Gara and Robertson said that he always looks for the positive outcome.

"I don't know if I see things differently, but I'm just a natural optimist. I genuinely see the opportunity in stuff," Robertson said. "And that night we had about seven guys out and the team kind of picked itself because they were fit. I said, 'Nah man, these young guys are going to go good, I can feel it! Good luck to the Hurricanes tonight'. And, I think that was the moment."

O'Gara added:

"Being a so-called star player and being in France, I thought my way was the best way like a lot of people do. And that's a strength and a weakness. But then you come here and get completely re-shaped."