Ronan O'Gara backs Crusaders boss Scott Robertson to make great All Blacks coach
As frontrunners go, Scott Robertson is definitely the best dancer.
Here is what we know right now:
- Steve Hansen will step down as All Blacks head coach after the 2019 World Cup
- Joe Schmidt will 'finish coaching' after the World Cup campaign with Ireland
- Hansen would like to see assistant Ian Foster take over
Joe Schmidt looked set to return to New Zealand, late next year, and be handed the job as All Blacks coach but his decision to take a break from coaching looks to have scuppered those NZ Rugby plans.
That leaves three men atop the list of frontrunners - Foster, Warren Gatland and Scott Robertson - with Vern Cotter surely meriting a place in the conversation. Ronan O'Gara is back in New Zealand for Canterbury Crusaders' pre-season training and he was asked if Robertson, his boss, would one day oversee the national side. He told Stuff:
"I think it will definitely happen, there's no doubt it. He's made of the right stuff, Razor (Robertson). He's got great energy, charisma, ideas. He's a leader of men."
Robertson is preparing his Crusaders side for a three-in-a-row tilt at the Super Rugby title but he may leave that set-up to take up a posting with the All Blacks after the World Cup. If he did, it would be interesting to see if O'Gara would be part of his coaching ticket.
O'Gara has already indicated that he would be keen on speaking with the IRFU about getting involved under Andy Farrell. However, on Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby [from 33:00 below] Alex Payne suggested several English Premiership clubs would be keen on securing the Cork native's services.
Alex Payne, Sky Sports and House of Rugby UK host, told Andrew Trimble just how highly regarded the former Munster and Ireland outhalf is rated in England.
"In England, coaches are not encouraged to go overseas. And you look at the fact that he has gone to Racing and then made the bold move to head down to Crusaders."
Trimble feels O'Gara would ultimately love to return to Munster, as head coach, but that he has gone out to make himself one of the best coaches in world rugby by sampling new surroundings and cultures, and by working with top players and coaches.
"ROG is hugely high thought of in England," Payne said. "When Paul Gustard left England to take over at Harlequins, Stuart Barnes wrote an article saying if Eddie Jones was looking for someone to come into his backroom team, to add real intellect, that Ronan O'Gara would be that man.
"Ronan O'Gara is hugely high thought of. On the other side of the Irish Sea, there is a real mystique around Munster and Ronan was very much part of that, obviously.
"It wouldn't surprise me if an English club came calling for him at some stage as well. France, New Zealand and then a role with an English club. He is very highly regarded in England."
"He wins people over," said Trimble. "Anyone that spends time with him, he just wins them over. Everyone loves him and everyone loves spending time with him. He's a popular guy. He's smart, he's switched on and he's happy to tell people they are wrong; he backs himself."
Coming from someone who used to side with David Humphreys in the ROG vs. Humphreys debates, that is coming as a huge compliment.
O'Gara's next move will be fascinating, and it will be closely watched.
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