O'Gara has revisited his comments on coaching England post-Jones
Ronan O’Gara has reiterated his ambition to coach England once Eddie Jones finishes up in the position following the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. The Irishman, who last May led La Rochelle to their first Heineken Champions Cup title, revealed earlier this year that coaching the English national team was of interest to him.
It was April when he told BT Sport: “Yeah, it would be a great job I think actually. Yeah, what a team. There’s so much potential there. There are serious rugby players and a serious passion for the game in England. It’s a cracking job, you’d love to have a go off that.”
That was a view he quickly doubled down on when interviewed the following week on Off The Ball, an Irish sports radio programme. “I’m looking at it from a purely sporting point of view,” he clarified.
“You have to understand that inside you if you’re a competitor, if you can arm yourself with a decent ammunition to have a crack off a World Cup or winning a Six Nations, and if you were the coach of that, that would really stimulate me. Whatever nation it is. Probably from a distance, people fail to understand or appreciate how I’m wired. But we’re in a professional game.”
Seven months later, O’Gara, who is contracted to La Rochelle through to summer 2024, is this week in London to co-coach the star-studded Barbarians side that will tackle an All Blacks XV this Sunday and it was inevitable that the topic of him desiring to coach England would come up in his media engagements. So it proved, The Times reporting the 45-year-old’s latest views on wanting to succeed Jones next year.
“Yeah, of course, I would be (interested),” he said. “It’s a huge job. There’s probably a lot involved with it and you’d have to be very firm with what your criteria are and what your role is. When you strip it all back, essentially you want to be winning games, but you need a strong support network around you to be put in that position.
“I would be thorough in my approach, in terms of what country you’d like to coach. There are a handful that jump out straight away. I’m from Ireland, which would have a special appeal. I would consider long and hard about what country. They are all different and they would have different replies.
“It’s a professional game, and if one job was to be just the coach for a side at Test level for your own country, I could see that appealing to me, and also concentrating on the club game. But then you might want to try, if your health allows, to be a veteran Test coach where you could have 20 years at Test level – there are coaches that have done that and done brilliantly.”
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