O'Gara claims coaching the Irish rugby team one day is an 'ultimate ambition'

O'Gara claims coaching the Irish rugby team one day is an 'ultimate ambition'

Former Ireland and Munster flyhalf Ronan O'Gara has claimed that coaching the Irish rugby team one day is an "ultimate ambition."

After a successful playing career with Munster and Ireland, where he won a Heineken Cup with his home province Munster and a Grand Slam with Ireland, the Cork native worked with the likes of Racing 92 as the club's defence coach, the New Zealand club Crusaders in 2018, and also Stade Rochelais, where he won back-to-back Heineken Cups.

O'Gara has already made a name for himself on the rugby scene and is sure to be one of the contenders to replace the current Irish coach, Andy Farrell, when he does decide to depart his role with Ireland.

In the past, O'Gara has not batted away suggestions that he could manage the English national team. When asked if the RFU had approached him in the past, O'Gara said "no."

"No, not directly. I would know Conor O’Shea, but I didn’t have any conversations about the job. I just chat rugby with him from time to time. No, it wasn’t with a view to being England's head coach. It was more with a view to potentially what might be best for my career.

"Conor is a good sounding board for me. He is Irish, but he is someone who has gotten out, can see things differently, and also has that professional side to him in terms of seeing the bigger picture.

"Some people become very insular depending on their environment. But Conor would be the opposite."

However, it's clear that Munster legend O'Gara would love a crack at the Irish gig one day.

NEW PLYMOUTH, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 12: Ronan O'Gara of Ireland is tackled by Jerome Kaino of the All Blacks during the International rugby test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Ireland at Yarrow Stadium on June 12, 2010 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

"Coaching Ireland is the ultimate ambition. But also, when you become an international professional coach, you are capable of contextualising what the goal is," said O'Gara in an interview in association with The Winners Enclosure ahead of the Cheltenham Festival

"Coaching England, Australia, Japan, Fiji, or any big team like that around the world becomes very interesting because you hopefully get hold of a group of players that have similar ambitions as you. It is up to you to decide the project and take it where it needs to be taken.

"Let players express themselves, play rugby, have fun together and live out their dreams for a short period of time. It is not work; it is not a job; it is a huge passion."

Andy Farrell's contract with Ireland will expire in 2027, and consequently, that is also the expiration date of O'Gara's contract with La Rochelle. The Ireland star claims that is purely coincidental, but still hopes that managing Ireland could become a reality one day.

"I have a contract until 2027. That’s purely coincidental. It had nothing to do with it!

"Coaching your country is obviously something you would love to do. But hopefully, if you’re doing a good enough job, it can happen soon, or it can happen not so soon, but hopefully it can happen."