Ronan O’Gara says coaching Test rugby is ‘appealing’ amid links to England job

La Rochelle coach has been mentioned in connection with the England job after next year’s World Cup

Former Ireland outhalf Ronan O’Gara, who is on the shortlist of names to replace England coach Eddie Jones after next year’s Rugby World Cup in France, said he found the challenge of coaching Test rugby “appealing”.

O’Gara, whose name entered the public domain along with Scott Robertson and Steve Borthwick as potential front-runners, said he would consider the opportunity if it came his way.

“To test me, to test your players, at the highest possible level under extreme pressure. That stimulates me, that awakens me and that inspires me,” said O’Gara about the prospect of international rugby.

O’Gara coached French Club La Rochelle to the European Champions Cup for the first time in their history, when they beat Leinster in last season’s final. He has coached only at club level so far in his career, firstly at Racing 92 in France as defence coach before taking up an assistant coaching role in Crusaders in New Zealand. He is currently head coach in La Rochelle.


“Yeah it’s a huge decision to even contemplate because there’s a lot to it. Obviously, considering I played for Ireland for a long period of time, it’s not something you’d ever contemplate as a player,” he said speaking at an event for Benetti Menswear.

“But time moves on and it becomes appealing because you feel like you have a group that could win a World Cup, and that’s what becomes exciting. Obviously, you have to give an incredible amount of thought to what it would look like.

“It’s one thing contemplating it but actually putting that into reality is something that I genuinely haven’t given the necessary depth of thought because it’s a huge decision.”

The 45-year-old said he could not comment on the incident which recently cost him a 10-week ban. He is due to meet with the La Rochelle club president, Vincent Merling, on Friday to discuss whether or not to appeal the decision, which will keep him out of rugby until January 30th.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times