Ronan O’Gara reveals frosty reception from Steve Hansen

Date published: November 7 2019

Former Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O’Gara has revealed he wasn’t always made to feel welcome in New Zealand by outgoing All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen.

O’Gara was part of the Crusaders’ backroom staff during 2018 and 2019 before leaving the Super Rugby champions to accept the role as head coach of Top 14 outfit La Rochelle.

“He was cold to me,” O’Gara told the Off The Ball website. “He was cold to me in my time [with the Crusaders].”

The former Ireland and British & Irish Lions fly-half said he was respected by all of the Crusaders players, which included numerous All Blacks.

According to O’Gara, Hansen, who stepped down from his position as All Blacks coach after the recent World Cup in Japan, was not always too keen on having a foreign coach involved at Super Rugby’s most successful side.

“I think maybe the fact that it was never really done before and Steve Hansen has been around for a long time,” said O’Gara.

“I kind of made up with him a year or two later, but I think at the start he struggled to get his head around what I was doing there.

“Particularly with the World Cup coming up, particularly with Ireland going so well.

“I went in and got a good reaction out of the Crusaders players and a lot of them are All Blacks. I’d say it was strange at the start that I was coming in.”

O’Gara added that there was no hard feelings between him and Hansen and he informed of the two-time World Cup winning coach of his ambitions to coach at the highest level.