Ronan O’Gara aims to ‘put name in the debate’ for international coaching job

Colin Newboult
Former Ireland fly-half and current La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara.

Former Ireland fly-half and current La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara.

Ronan O’Gara has revealed his Rugby World Cup ambitions, insisting that he wants to win the competition with either Ireland or France.

The 47-year-old is currently head coach of La Rochelle following stints as an assistant with Racing 92 and the Crusaders.

O’Gara guided the French outfit to successive Champions Cup titles in 2022 and 2023, making him one of the most highly regarded coaches in the game.

The next obvious step is moving up to international level, but that is unlikely to happen before the 2027 World Cup.

Current contract

He signed a new five-year contract with La Rochelle in December 2022 which will keep him at the club until at least 2027.

The Ireland great has been linked to Test jobs in the past but he has particularly set his sights on two countries going forward.

“At the moment, I would like to have the ability to win the World Cup, I dream of winning things, whether with Ireland or I like France,” he told RMC Sport.

“I’m not French. I’m trying to prove myself and put my name in this debate. It’s possible that for Ireland, the next coach will be a New Zealander, a South African or an Australian, that’s how it is.”

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O’Gara’s preference is very much as a head coach, with the La Rochelle boss struggling to envisage himself as an assistant.

“Being a member of the staff? No, I don’t think so,” he said. “When you get a taste of the number one position, of those responsibilities, it’s difficult.”

Unfinished business

For the time being, however, O’Gara is focused on having a positive end to the campaign with his club side.

The Irishman has already become a legend at La Rochelle for their achievements in the Champions Cup, but the 47-year-old wants more.

They were knocked out of Europe by Leinster at the quarter-final stage, but they are currently sitting in a Top 14 play-off spot as they seek to win their first domestic title.

“We have already won two European Cup titles but that is not enough, even if some think that is enough. I am a liar if I say that everything is good because everything is not good,” he added.

“If we are not efficient, we will not be in the top six. If we are, the only other team which has the culture of winning is Toulouse.

“Currently it is 70/30 against them, but if we reach the final, it will be 50/50. The other teams have not won titles and this will count in the rest of the competition.”

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