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irish pride Ronan O'Gara says Ireland coaching job would be 'hugely exciting and a massive privilege'


La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara. Photo: Sportsfile

La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara. Photo: Sportsfile

La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara. Photo: Sportsfile

Ronan O'Gara has stated unequivocally that his goal is to one day coach Ireland, but he believes he may need to coach another country first before assuming the top job in his homeland.

The former out-half's main focus at the minute is preparing La Rochelle for tomorrow's Heineken Champions Cup final against Toulouse, but he has outlined his long-term plans in an interview with The Telegraph.

O'Gara has coached in France and New Zealand since retiring and, while he spent a week working with Joe Schmidt's Ireland during the 2017 tour of North America and Japan, he has so far resisted the lure of home.

But he said his time spent at Racing 92, The Crusaders and La Rochelle, where he'll take on an expanded role next season, is all building towards one day leading his country to glory.

“Of course it is, damn right it is,” he said.

“Because that's the ultimate. Winning a World Cup with your country. That’s what you want to do.

"But the reality is you may have to do another nation before you get the Irish job because the Ireland job is a big, big job.

“But that doesn’t frighten me one bit. I have been pretty consistent in my steps and I feel I can add stuff to certain teams, so in that regard it wouldn’t be from a lack of belief and confidence for taking on the job.

"Far from it. It would be hugely exciting and a massive privilege.”

La Rochelle's run to their first European Cup final has certainly captured the imagination and the team and management were cheered to the airport by fans as they made their way to Twickenham.

O'Gara is excited about the game.

“It's another opportunity for this team to test themselves against a top team in Europe and yeah, we don't have any history but that doesn't really matter," he said.

“One team will win on Saturday and one team will lose but you restart from zero on Sunday morning no matter how it goes. You have to keep adding layers and layers and hopefully you will then have more confidence and self-belief to perform.”

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