O’Gara linked to role with Cru­saders

Sunday News - - RUGBY -

IS Ire­land rugby great Ro­nan O’Gara bound for Christchurch?

A re­port in the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner sug­gests he is, link­ing him strongly to the va­cant as­sis­tant coaches role at the Cru­saders.

The news out­let’s sources sug­gest Rac­ing 92, the French club where O’Gara coaches, is braced for his exit, with the Cru­saders re­port­edly of­fer­ing a two-year con­tract.

There has been much talk about who Cru­saders head coach Scott Robert­son might nab to join the team he coached to a Su­per Rugby ti­tle in his first sea­son in charge.

O’Gara, who writes col­umns for the Ir­ish Ex­am­iner, de­clined to com­ment but the news­pa­per re­ported that an Ir­ish Rugby Union source said there was a ‘‘99 per cent’’ chance the for­mer Ire­land first five-eighth would head to Christchurch.

He has been work­ing with for­mer Cru­saders pivot Dan Carter in his cur­rent role at Rac­ing 92 in Paris, and the prospect of help­ing to mould the ca­reer of Richie Mo’unga is sure to be en­tic­ing, as well as get­ting a taste for coach­ing at the top level in New Zealand.

In a re­cent Ir­ish Ex­am­iner col­umn, O’Gara wrote that he had a sig­nif­i­cant amount of learn­ing to do as coach in dif­fer­ent parts of the world be­fore he felt he would be ready for a big head coach­ing gig.

Mean­while, Rugby Aus­tralia will re­view the num­ber of play­ers on each Su­per Rugby ros­ter, as it puts to­gether a tran­si­tion plan in place for the 2018 sea­son.

RA wants to pro­vide greater op­por­tu­nity for for­mer Western Force play­ers to re­main in Aus­tralian rugby fol­low­ing that fran­chise’s ax­ing.

One of the Force’s best play­ers, Wal­la­bies hooker Tatafu PolotaNau, has switched to English club Le­ices­ter.

RA doesn’t an­tic­i­pate the four re­main­ing Aus­tralian teams mak­ing ma­jor in­creases in squad size and player salaries.

Un­der cur­rent player con­tract­ing rules, Aus­tralian Su­per Rugby teams are sub­ject to a $5 mil­lion salary cap across their 30-man core play­ing squad.

‘‘Col­lec­tively across Rugby Aus­tralia, RUPA and the four Su­per Rugby teams we are devel­op­ing a tran­si­tion plan for 2018 to as­sist us to keep our best tal­ent in Aus­tralian rugby,’’ RA gen­eral man­ager high per­for­mance Ben Whi­taker said. - with AAP

Rac­ing 92 coach Ro­nan O’Gara.

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