O'Gara talks up Lions partnership with Andy Farrell

O'Gara talks up Lions partnership with Andy Farrell

RONAN O’GARA has not poured cold water on the idea of linking up with Ireland's Andy Farrell for the British & Irish Lions Tour of Australia in 2025. 

Both O'Gara and Farrell are having excellent periods in their coaching careers. Farrell has won Coach of the Year with Ireland after winning 17 games in a row, which also included a first-ever home Grand Slam, while O'Gara has led Top14 French side La Rochelle to back-to-back Champions Cups in 2022 and 2023.

It is widely reported that Farrell is the favourite to lead the Lions team when the tour begins in 2015. This week, former Ireland player Keith Wood claimed that he would love to see Farrell and O'Gara pair up for the upcoming Lions Tour.

O'Gara, who is a regular on OTBAM in Ireland, was asked directly about what he thought about Wood's comments. The former Munster man did not swat away the rumours. He said he would be open to the opportunity if it did become available.

“I’m sure there will be plenty of other people eyeing that role, and maybe Andy has got his own coaching ticket," he said. “He certainly looks to be in pole position for that role, considering all the good things he’s done with Ireland. It would be very exciting getting an opening there, that’s for sure.”

However, O'Gara ideally would like to work as an assistant because of his current deal with La Rochelle.

“It depends on the role you’re offered,” he added. "If you’re the head coach, you have to take a year’s sabbatical, so that obviously wouldn’t work because of my commitment to La Rochelle.

“But if there was a potential opening, I’m sure the bosses here, depending on my willingness to show interest in it, would be very open to trying to see me in my best version. My best version might be coaching with Andy Farrell with the Lions. That would be extremely exciting. I don’t think reasonable people would put a stop to that.”

His contract runs until 2027, but it seems like it's a matter of when, not if, that O'Gara decides to take his coaching acumen to an international level. He believes that having a desire to test yourself in more challenging coaching circles is something that every coach aims for, and testing himself at a higher level is only natural.

“It’s a bit like starting as an international player. You want to play for your country once, then you want to play five times, then you want to see if you can get to 50, and then 100,” he added.

“It’s the same in coaching. With something like that, from afar, it sounds daunting to some people, but for me, it’s extremely exciting. It’s something you want to be a part of because you want to be on the best teams.

“You want to try and get in there and make a difference. Of course, you would be thinking about it, but these are things you don’t control.”