O’Gara cools “farcical” talk on France link up

By Tony Leen
Sports Editor

Ronan O’Gara has dismissed as premature speculation he is poised to ink a deal with the French Rugby Federation to join their World Cup coaching ticket.

He said tonight he’d had a conversation with an agent in France, but that had spread across three days of coverage in the French media. Such unfounded presumption was “farcical”, he told Off The Ball on Newstalk last night.

Not that he would dismiss the approach if it does come in a formalised manner. “If you had the opportunity to work with players I think are good players you would always consider it,” O’Gara said.

But such speculation is par for the course these days, the world is tiny. There are staff here at the Crusaders and they are getting propositions once or twice a week. But this is loose talk

- he told interviewer Joe Molloy.

Midi Olympique – which is often seen as a reliable barometer of thinking in the FFR – claimed yesterday that O’Gara was “ready to sign” with France as a defence coach. O’Gara accepts he will have a big career decision to make once his contract with the Crusaders runs out after the Super Rugby season, but it’s already apparent he won’t be short of offers. “I am weighing things up with (wife) Jessica, and there’s a schooling decision that has to be made.

“What determines this sort of stuff is what you do on the pitch – then these decisions look after themselves. You got to live in the now. 48 hours is a long time and these things will sort themselves out. There is nothing more to say. With one phone call (from an agent), you’re on three different days of Midi Olympique.”

Another season with the Crusaders isn’t ruled out – nor is a role within Irish rugby if the right opportunity presented itself. “Am I am open to an Irish conversation? Of course. I was in Chicago for the Ireland-Italy game, I met the staff and the IRFU and I would always chat to them. If I prove myself elsewhere to give myself that option, maybe they might want me.”

O’Gara spent five years at Racing 92, impressing as a defence coach to the extent that FFR president Bernard Laporte has received strong signals of support for the proposed suggestion that they bring the Munster legend on board in a short term capacity. O’Gara says he is continually looking to expand his coaching horizons.

“When I was in Racing, it was very specific and I was new. Only in the last few months do I feel confident of having a good grasp of a few different areas of coaching. Attack is never black and white, but with a growth mindset, I am getting more and more (interested) in attack.”

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