Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell to leave current coaching roles

O’Gara set for job with France while O’Connell is to leave Stade Francais a year early

Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell are to leave their current coaching positions. Midi Olympique are reporting O’Gara’s short term appointment as France defence coach in Jacques Brunel’s struggling set-up will run from July until after the World Cup.

The 42-year-old is contracted to Super Rugby champions the Canterbury Crusaders until this summer which means he can link up with France before their August warm-up games.

Oddly, Brunel’s current defence coach Jean-Marc Bédérède would remain in the job as O’Gara attempts to solve an area of crisis, particularly the 44-8 humiliation at Twickenham, during the Six Nations when the French lacked a basic system to handle kicks in behind their defensive line.

The reported appointment of Fabien Galthié as backs coach alongside another former scrumhalf Jean Baptiste Elissalde is less certain.

"We must bring skills to this staff," said Laporte of Brunel's coaching ticket that also includes 75 times capped flanker Julien Bonnaire.

O’Connell’s next destination remains unclear. The 39-year-old informed Stade Francais players on Friday that he would be leaving the club one season into a two year deal.

O'Connell, who previously coached the Munster academy and Ireland under-20s, joined Mike Prendergast in Paris last summer to work under former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Despite integrating well and being appreciated by the players and technical support, he gathered the players last Friday to announce his departure,” reported “He is determined not to leave Stade Francais on bad terms, but the season has been peppered with internal conflicts which are at the core of his departure.”

Prendergast, who previously coached the Grenoble backline, could be moving to Toulon next season but there is no information about O’Connell’s future.

“It’s probably the first time I’ve had no long-term ambition for anything,” O’Connell told The Irish Independent last Saturday. “I’m in Paris to see if I want to coach. I’m there to learn the language, experience the culture, experience being away from Limerick for a while, experience being away from Munster for a little while.

“ I’m actually stopping myself from making any long-term plans all the time because coaching is a very enjoyable, rewarding and fulfilling job but it’s also a very tough job from a family point of view and even from a health point of view.”

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent