RONAN O’GARA HAS extended his contract with defending Super Rugby champions the Crusaders beyond the current season as his stock as a world-class coach continues to rise.
The former Ireland and Munster out-half left his position with Top 14 outfit Racing 92 before Christmas to take up the opportunity at Scott Roberston’s Crusaders, and will remain in New Zealand for the 2019 Super Rugby season.
O’Gara arrived at the Christchurch-based franchise in January and, according to head coach Roberston, has brought a new perspective and knowledge to the group as the Crusaders look to defend their title.
With 12 wins from 14 outings, the Crusaders currently sit top of the New Zealand conference and are in a strong position to secure a home quarter-final when the play-offs begin in July.
“I’m delighted to be extending my contract for another season,” O’Gara said.
“I have always been an admirer of rugby in New Zealand and to get the opportunity to work with a club like the Crusaders is a fantastic experience.
“Besides being a great bunch of guys to work with, the professionalism of everyone associated with the club is incredible. It’s no wonder this part of the world has the success they do. I’m delighted my wife and family have come on this journey with me and I’m really looking forward to working with everyone again next season.”
The 41-year-old, who was granted an early release from his contract with Racing, said joining the Crusaders backroom team was ‘an exciting step’ in his coaching career, and certainly he has made an impression at the AMI Stadium in the last six months.
Roberston hailed O’Gara’s contributions so far: “Ronan’s coaching style has been hugely valuable to us in just his first season with the club. He has quickly formed great relationships with our playing group, and has effective means of passing on his knowledge which really resonates with the team.
“We hoped at the start of the season that Ronan would provide us with a new perspective in 2018, and he has done exactly that. He brings fresh eyes and knowledge to the coaching group and we are certainly seeing the benefits of his extensive skillset and experience.
“We’re pleased that Ronan and his family are settled in Christchurch and he’ll continue his important contribution in 2019.”
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