Ronan O’Gara On How A Gym Chat With Dan Carter Got Him The Crusaders Job

Any interest in coaching in New Zealand ROG?

Ronan O’Gara has revealed that it was Dan Carter who ended up putting him in touch with the Crusaders about their vacant coaching position, after giving him a glowing recommendation.

The former Munster and Ireland playmaker will leave Racing 92 in the new year, having been granted an early release from his contract, to take up a role as Crusader head coach Scott Robertson’s assistant.

Writing in his regular Irish Examiner column, O’Gara says the whole thing came about from what he thought was a throwaway comment in the gym with Dan Carter.

“This all kicked off with a throwaway comment in the gym.” O’Gara writes

Or what I presumed at the time was a throwaway question from Dan Carter. Would I like to coach in New Zealand some time?

Of course I would.

I thought no more of it, and I doubt Dan was playing matchmaker either at the time. He presumed I was going to be at Racing 92 for a few more years.

But the weight of his conversations with the Crusaders were clearly of greater substance than he thought.

Like any shooting-the- breeze chat it passed but a while after, Dan brought the subject up again. And this time, it seemed like he wasn’t just passing time between deadlifts.

‘I hate doing this, because I want the best coaches here at Racing, but I have to tell you, the Crusaders are asking and I’ve given you a strong reference.’ Deadpan Dan. They want to pursue this.

Head coach Scott Robertson made contact, as did the chief executive, and it seemed we were chatting notionally until they said ‘we’d love if you came on board!’ And I’m thinking: ‘Well if that’s what’s in your head, you had better formulate some sort of concrete proposal’.”

In the end the Crusaders did come back with a concrete proposal of a one-year contract, which O’Gara gladly accepted. Whether or not that will be extended depends on everything works out.

O’Gara also noted that he believes Ireland coach Greg Feek played a big role in getting him the job. Feek is the godfather or Scott Robertson’s child.

“Greg Feek the same. He was coaching Ireland even when I was playing, but because he was dealing with front rows, there was no little or no connection there. Then we landed in America together last summer and clicked big time, just shooting the breeze and chatting rugby and coaching and how people learn differently.

I have no doubt his opinion was sought too by the Crusaders, where he is well regarded. Greg is the godfather to Scott Robertson’s child, which is incidental in one sense, but offers an insight too into the family-orientated outlook of the organisation.”

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