France target Crusaders coaching brain
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: France’s dismal form has resulted in the side calling in one of Crusaders’ mastermind in preparation for their World Cup campaign.
Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O’Gara is set to sign a short-term deal as a defence coach for the French national team ahead their World Cup campaign, according to reports out of France.
Midi Olympique is indicating the 42-year-old former Ireland and British and Irish Lions international has been identified as a backroom staff target following France’s poor showing in the recent Six Nations, and is reportedly close to finalising the move.
France finished the Six Nations in fourth place after winning just two of their five fixtures, leaving head coach Jacques Brunel under intense pressure with just five wins from 16 outings since taking the reigns from Guy Noves in late 2017.
The addition of O’Gara would be a welcome boost to a side that has had a strained relationship between players and management in recent history.
Ex-head coach Marc Lievremont publicly fell out with his squad during the 2011 World Cup after branding a section of his players as “spoil brats”, while others such as Noves and Philippe Saint-Andre have had their own issues as a result of their time at the helm of the French side following Lievremont’s departure.
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O’Gara, a 130-test veteran, is a well-respected figure within the global rugby fraternity, and spent four years coaching in France with Top 14 club Racing Metro before signing on with the Crusaders in 2018.
After claiming a Super Rugby title last year, O’Gara has helped steer the reigning champions to the top of the current standings after six rounds.
His contract with the Christchurch-based franchise expires at the end of the season, however, making him free to sign on with France from mid-July.
Les Bleus kick-off their campaign against Argentina at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo on September 21.