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Ronan O'Gara clarifies remarks about return to Munster

The former Ireland out-half has made no secret of his strong desire to coach his home province in the future.

O'Gara was back at Thomond Park with Racing 92 earlier this season.
O'Gara was back at Thomond Park with Racing 92 earlier this season.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Updated at 4.15pm

RONAN O’GARA HAS once again reiterated his desire to coach Munster at some point in the future, but says returning to Thomond Park to work with players he shared a dressing room with isn’t appealing.

The former Ireland out-half has moved to clarify quotes he gave to reporters at a Crusaders media day earlier, insisting that he has not closed the door on the possibility of returning to his home province.

“Coaching the players I played with, for me, is not a good idea but coaching Munster when those players are gone is something that hugely interests me,” he told The42.

“If that opportunity didn’t arrive, it wouldn’t bother me but I would love to coach Munster.”

O’Gara has recently arrived in New Zealand where he has taken up an assistant coach role with the Super Rugby champions after beginning his coaching career with Racing 92.

The Cork native said the move to Christchurch to join Scott Roberston’s coaching team would allow him to ’enrich his rugby knowledge and improve his training methods’, with O’Gara consistently linked with the head job at Munster since his retirement as a player.

The 40-year-old was part of Joe Schmidt’s coaching ticket for Ireland’s summer tour to USA and Japan last June and is certainly highly-regarded, with several players since speaking of the impact he had on the group in a small space of time.

Previous comments appeared to suggest he was not interested in a return to Thomond Park, but O’Gara has once again made no secret of his desire to coach Munster at some stage in the future.

Ronan O'Gara Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“I enjoyed playing in Munster but I don’t think coaching the players you played with is a good idea. I didn’t want that so there’s not a big draw to ever go back there,” O’Gara told the New Zealand media.

“If the opportunity with Ireland presents itself it’s a different decision. At the minute I’m at a massive club with a big responsibility and something that really interests me.

“I enjoy the day-to-day coaching and interaction with the players and international rugby is very different. You need to be hugely experienced to do that and I’m not that.”

O’Gara was granted an early release from his contract with Top 14 side Racing to take up the opportunity in New Zealand, and he’s relishing the challenge with the Super Rugby season getting underway at the end of February.

“I wanted to come down here because I feel it’s one of the best rugby clubs in the world,” he continued.

“I’ve always admired the Crusaders. They’re a club I’ve followed since I was a kid. I’ve watched their campaigns and never thought I’d end up here this soon.

“New Zealand is the best in the world at rugby so you need to get in here to test yourself against the best to be seen as a credible coach. That’s essentially what I want to do here. I like competing; I like getting the best out of players and challenging myself.

“If you want to give a true opinion on something you’ve got to experience it yourself.”

– This article was updated at 4.15pm with additional quotes from Ronan O’Gara to clarify previous comments he had made to New Zealand media. 

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