Conor O’Shea On Why He’ll Never Coach Ireland

Never.

Italy head coach Conor O’Shea has revealed he has no ambitions to ever coach the Ireland national team. The former Ireland international says that may sound like he lacks ambition, but refuses to accept that.

The former Harlequins boss says he’s hugely passionated about his role as boss of the Italian national team, and will be with them as long as it takes to make them a force in World Rugby.

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O’Shea says the feeling of losing with Ireland at the 1999 Rugby World Cup group stages against Argentina in Lens (knocking them out), forever lives with him and he never wants that experience that feeling again.

“No (I’ll never coach Ireland)” O’Shea told TV3

“People say that lacks ambition. I’m massively ambitious. I’m ambitious for the project I’m involved in with Italy.”

“They’re an incredibly passionate group of people, they’re very like Irish people in many ways. And I’m incredibly passionate about this, however long it takes.”

“But, never, I know what I felt in 1999 after Lens and I’m never ever gonna feel like that about my country again.”

O’Sheas does however, reckon another former Ireland international will eventually take up the top job.

“I think the prodigal son is sitting in the studio, Ronan O’Gara.” O’Shea added

“That’s the prodigal son. That’s the man who will coach Ireland in a few years time.”

O’Gara himself was asked when TV3 reverted back to the studio if that was an ambition of his and he said:

“Of course it is. Of course ya, it would be the ultimate. But it’s a long way away, a lot of work to be done.”