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'That is the ambition': Leinster scrum coach Fogarty ready to step up if Ireland come calling
Greg Feek will join Joe Schmidt through Ireland’s exit door after next year’s World Cup.

LEINSTER SCRUM COACH John Fogarty believes he is ready to step up and coach at international level.

A Heineken Cup winner with Leinster in 2009, Fogarty stepped up to lead the province’s set-piece in 2015 after Greg Feek went full-time with Ireland.

Feek, having moved to Japan to coach with the Ricoh Black Rams, will depart Irish rugby after the 2019 World Cup and Fogarty admits he would not balk at the chance to replace the Kiwi in a second role.

“As a coach, I want to be able to coach as high as I can go. That is the ambition,” Fogarty said at Leinster’s UCD base yesterday.

“Again, arriving at that point at the right time is the most important thing as well. From the IRFU’s point of view, or my point of view, it is making sure I’m able to deliver.”

As reigning double champions, Leinster’s coaching team is obviously in high demand. Head coach Leo Cullen was beaten to a Sports Manager of the Year award by Joe Schmidt last week, while senior coach Stuart Lancaster is sought-after by several clubs and nations. Last season’s backs coach, Girvan Dempsey, has already moved on to Bath.

John Fogarty and Stuart Lancaster Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

On Fogarty’s watch, Tadhg Furlong and Andrew Porter have flourished. He admits that he is relatively inexperienced as coaches go, but feels he is ready to work in the international arena, should the vacancy in Andy Farrell’s backroom team be offered his way.

“Of course, I do,” said the Munster native when asked if he felt ready for the step up.

I do feel I can add value. I am adding value here, I hope. I do feel I could.

“That’s as far as I can talk about it. I’ve not been talking to anybody about it.”

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He adds: “I’m still learning. I see myself as a young coach that’s still very much learning.

“Every year throws up new challenges. The group, having four loose-heads and four tight-heads, having that change of players continually challenges us as a group and me as a person.

“In my head, I’m still learning so much about the game and the different challenges it can throw up.”

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