IRFU remain coy as speculation mounts that O’Gara could join Irish coaching set up

The IRFU has said it will not respond to speculation that Ronan O’Gara will join Joe Schmidt’s Ireland coaching team for the summer tour of the US and Japan.

A report in Independent.ie says the Racing 92 assistant coach will join Girvan Dempsey and Felix Jones as part of an extended coaching team, with the trio reported to be included at different stages on the three-Test trip in June.

O’Gara signed a contract extension last year keeping him in Paris until 2019, and was linked with the Connacht vacancy earlier this season after Pat Lam announced his departure, but instead decided to continue his tenure in the French capital. 

“I don’t want to give up what we have at Racing at this stage, I am too interested in it, too much invested in it just to up sticks,” he said at the time.

O’Gara retired as player in 2013 and moved straight into coaching with Racing 92, the current Top 14 champions as well as being a prominent pundit with RTÉ.

However recent uncertainly surrounding both Racing 92 and Stade Francais would have done little to assure the Cork man of his long term future in France.

Only last month a proposed merger between the two Parisian clubs fell through amidst huge discontent amongst players and fans alike.

O’Gara was also linked with the Ireland set-up following Les Kiss’ departure after the 2015 World Cup, and speaking last summer, said that he would like to return to Irish rugby further down the line in his coaching career.

“Yeah of course I would, definitely. But it’s not short or medium term, that’s for sure.”

With the SARU reportedly in contact with Rassie Erasmus and doubts over his future at Munster refusing to go away, it certainly seems to indicate that the IRFU are steering O’Gara towards a return home.

We watch this space with interest.