Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O’Gara is being eyed up by Top 14 club La Rochelle, according to reports from various French media outlets.
It is believed the western French club, led by head coach Jono Gibbes, want to bring in the former 130-test Ireland and British and Irish Lions first-five as a replacement for outgoing backs coach Xavier Garbajosa.
Rugby Rama reported that La Rochelle were “getting closer to Ronan O’Gara to find a replacement”, with negotiations expected to be completed this week.
O’Gara’s contract with the Crusaders expires at the end of this season, almost two years after first signing on from French club Racing 92 to help steer the franchise to a second successive Super Rugby title.
The 42-year-old had earlier been linked to a role with the French national side on a short-term basis which would have seen him attend this year’s World Cup as an assistant coach, but he ruled out such a move when speaking to Radio Sport.
“There was one or two approaches from an agent, that’s as far we’ve got,” he said.
“As anyone knows I have an amount of work to do here, which is really important to me, and if there is anything Razor [Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson] and the Crusaders would be the first to know about it.
“You just keep working, keep trying to get the best out of the boys, that is what my short term goal is.
“I love being involved with a club on a daily basis where you persistent and continuous challenges. That is exactly where my focus is. It’s not a distraction. These are all conversations that happen. Next week it will be someone else.”
O’Gara told Stuff in February that he wouldn’t shy away from pursuing a head coaching role with the Crusaders or an assistant position with the All Blacks should Robertson be selected as the next All Blacks coach.
“Everything is possible. I’m ambitious and competitive, but I think the most important thing is if I do my job then these things look after themselves …
“It would be something you’d aspire to do, but maybe the timing at this stage might be a bit soon. Some people might think differently.
“I’d back myself, like Razor [Robertson] would back himself. That’s what you get being in this environment, you become very positive.”
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