Cullen not surprised at Ireland’s interest in scrum coach Fogarty
‘There is interest in John because he is very good at what he does’ says Leinster coach
John Fogarty: “As a coach, I want to be able to coach as high as I can go. That is the ambition.” Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
When speculation gathers legs, it might sound something like Leinster coach Leo Cullen at UCD tip-toeing around.
“There are lots of different bits going on. From what I understand, in this scenario, there is interest in John because he’s very good at what he does,” said Cullen, who took the regular slot of Fogarty for Monday’s press briefing.
John Fogarty, the Leinster scrum coach, has been linked to the Irish job after this year’s World Cup. Greg Feek has already announced his departure to Japan with coach-in-waiting Andy Farrell currently in the process of assembling a new backroom team after Joe Schmidt also folds his tent post Japan.
“For a number of people across the organisation, when things go well, there’s interest from outside,” continued Cullen in a coded patter that didn’t confirm or deny Fogarty’s departure following commentary over the weekend that the Leinster 41-year-old has ‘got the gig’.
“That is where people tend to look when recruiting from the outside. I think John was disappointed, shall we say, with some of the comments that appeared during the weekend from certain people because they’re not necessarily accurate.
“He is a man in demand, I would say. I can’t really go into a huge amount of detail about people’s individual cases because that’s their business.”
Last December Fogarty expressed ambition about moving on from Leinster in the wake of Feek announcing that he would be moving on to the Japanese NEC Green Rockets. In his fifth season with the national team, Feek agreed to continue as part of Schmidt’s team until the conclusion of the World Cup.
“Of course, that is the direction,” said Fogarty in 2018 of his hopes in coaching. “As a player, I wanted to test myself at the highest level and that is the highest level. As a coach, I want to be able to coach as high as I can go. That is the ambition.
“Again, arriving at that point at the right time is the most important thing as well. From the IRFU’s point of view, or my point of view, it is making sure I’m able to deliver.”
Next autumn would appear to be the right time for a coach in his prime and already names have been bandied around as would-be-successors to Fogarty. Among the foremost of those is the women’s scrum coach and former Irish tighthead prop Mike Ross, a quintessential scrum nerd.
After a poor Women’s Six Nations championship from Ireland, one of the features of their play that stood up throughout was their scrum. Ross is just two years younger than Fogarty and last played for Ireland in 2016.
“The main thing for me is I enjoy the fact that people are even in consideration for other jobs because it means they are progressing well in what they are doing here,” added Cullen.
“And that’s what we want to see, players and staff progress. It creates some challenges. I see it as a positive thing.”