Ronan O’Gara has voiced his ambition to one day coach the Crusaders or join the All Blacks set-up.
The burgeoning coaching career of the former Ireland fly-half has seen him act as an assistant backs coach to Crusaders honcho Scott Robertson. Together, the reigning Super Rugby champions have gone on a record-setting streak of 17 wins in the competition.
But with O’Gara’s contract in Christchurch set to expire at the end of the year and Robertson’s accolades drawing him into the conversation of candidates to replace All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen, the Irishman revealed it was natural for him to think big about his future – one that he could see in New Zealand in the long-term.
“It would be a big job to apply for – I wouldn’t be scared of putting my name in if it was the right thing to do,” O’Gara said when asked about a more senior role with he Crusaders should Robertson depart. “Sport has taught me that these things work themselves out.
“That means Razor wouldn’t take me to the All Blacks job which I’d have to ask him questions about. Everything is possible. I’m ambitious and competitive but I think the most important thing is if I do my job these things look after themselves. I have a fantastic backline here.”
O’Gara arrived on New Zealand’s South Island following a recommendation from Dan Carter, who worked with the ex-Munster ten at Racing 92.
And after building a rapport with several members of the Crusaders’ contingent to pull on the black, O’Gara said his time in New Zealand had given him full confidence in his abilities.
“I’d back myself [for a promotion] like Razor would back himself,” O’Gara said. “That’s the thing about this environment – you become very positive.”
Steve Hansen announced in December he would be stepping down as New Zealand’s head coach and, as well as Robertson, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, Hansen’s assistant Ian Foster, Wales head coach Warren Gatland and Montpellier boss Vern Cotter are reported to be in the frame for the post.
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