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'It's decision time' - O'Gara confirms interest from La Rochelle and rules out Munster return

He isn’t ruling out remaining at Crusaders for another year, either.

Ronan O'Gara, coaching with Crusaders.
Ronan O'Gara, coaching with Crusaders.
Image: Martin Hunter/INPHO

RONAN O’GARA HAS confirmed he is considering a prominent coaching offer from Top14 side La Rochelle amid French media reports the club want him as their next backs coach. 

O’Gara, presently employed as backs coach of Super Rugby champions Crusaders, told Off the Ball that he is weighing up a number of coaching opportunities – an offer from La Rochelle among them – while not ruling out the possibility of remaining with Crusaders. 

“It’s decision time now. I’ve got to weigh up a few options, that’s where I am. I’ve got to decide what’s best for my career, and some really tough decisions to make.

“So hopefully in the next 10 days to two weeks I’ll come to that decision but there’s nothing done.

There’s two or three other options [separate to the La Rochelle offer]. It’s a great position to be in. You just want to make sure you’re making the right move for you and your family. There’s a sporting decision at stake and there’s also a family decision at stake.

“Also, whether I can stay with the Crusaders is another a decision I’m making.” 

O’Gara has previously worked as defence coach with French side Racing 92,whom he left in 2017 to move to New Zealand. Although French media claim that he is being considered as La Rochelle’s next backs coach, O’Gara says those reports are “inaccurate” and the job on offer is more prominent. 

“Jono Gibbes is there as the Director of Rugby and he wants someone to run the rugby programme, and that’s what I’m speaking to him about.

“These are good decisions. The family aspect is important, too. If it was purely a rugby decision my decision would be quite easy. But it’s not a pure rugby decision because thankfully I’ve got a good family.

“I’m ambitious and take it seriously, but you want to be valued and have the best chance to make it work wherever you go, so that’s what I need to get right.” 

O’Gara said that a head coach role is his next target, and added that while he has had recent contact with Munster, he has not been offered a coaching role at his old club.

Instead, he says that a stay in New Zealand or a return to France is most likely at this stage of his career. 

“I’ve been talking to Munster ever since I was a player in fairness to them. I’ve known Garrett [Fitzgerald CEO]  all my career, 25 years. I have spoken to Munster but there is no serious conversation in terms of a coaching position as I don’t really want it to go that route at the minute.

“I think that [a role in New Zealand or France] is best for me, and if I’m good enough then I can get a job at home on my terms.” 

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Gavin Cooney

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