Ronan O’Gara On The One Big Difference He’s Seen In New Zealand Rugby So Far

Back home.

Former Ireland and Munster playmaker has jetted in this weekend for TV3’s coverage of the Six Nations, having committed to the broadcaster long before he made the decision to take up a coaching role in New Zealand with the Crusaders.

The former outhalf has been in Christchurch now for a number of weeks, helping the current Super Rugby champions get ready for the upcoming season, and understandably the first question asked today was in relation to his experience there so far.

O’Gara was asked by presenter Joe Molloy about the differences he’s noticed so far between northern and southern hemisphere rugby. Interestingly he says there isn’t a huge amount, but he did note the skill level of the forwards as something that stood out for him.

“The skill level which the forwards hold the ball, that has kind of sprung at me when there’s fitness games being done in pre-season.” O’Gara said

“In my time you might be able to know who the backs and forwards are, over there it’s a little bit… the ease at which they can pass the ball left to right, right to left.”

He also interestingly noted that the New Zealanders were “fascinated” by the Lions tour.”

“But they were fascinated by the Lions tour as well” O’Gara added.

“I think that left a big print on their mentality.”

When asked how so, he said:

“Different ways of playing the game. I think the northern hemisphere teams are very impressive at a pressure game.”

“I think the Crusaders scored three points in that game against the Lions. So they completely reevaluated their game after they played them, and as a result, they won the championship.”

“Something like the expertise of Conor Murray’s consistent box-kicking, you don’t have to play everything from 80 metres out.

“So different ways of playing the same game.”