Ronan O'Gara strongly encouraged to join Eddie Jones' England 3 years ago

Ronan O'Gara strongly encouraged to join Eddie Jones' England

"One of the sharpest brains in rugby."

You can't blame Stuart Barnes for making the suggestion.

Advertisement

You would not blame England for reaching out and making the enquiry.

Ronan O'Gara could, then, be set for a top international job just a year out from the 2019 World Cup. Still, Barnes may be reaching a bit for this one.

The former Bath and England outhalf, writing in his column for The Times, believes Eddie Jones and England should do all in their power to secure the coaching services of former Ireland No.10 Ronan O'Gara.

Advertisement

The Munster legend left his post as Racing 92 defence coach at the turn of the year and is currently in New Zealand as backs coach with Super Rugby champions Crusaders. The Kiwis lead the way in 2018's Super Rugby campaign but Barnes wants England to lure him back to the northern hemisphere once it concludes.

Barnes writes:

"The Super Rugby season ends on August 4, which would leave the Irishman a year to make his mark in the England ranks. Plenty of time.

"When Jones was enlisted to help his mate, Jake White, win the 2007 World Cup for South Africa, the clock had ticked much further towards the tournament's commencement. He too arrived with his new country in August, but in World Cup year, just a month before the competition.

"After the South African success, the fresh perspective of Jones was highly praised. A different way of looking at the game is exactly what O'Gara would bring England. And not just in defence. To be a defence coach, one needs to understand the danger of the attacking threat and vice versa. O'Gara could kill a whole flock of birds with one stone."

Advertisement

In terms of timing, Jones is looking for a new defence coach for England as Paul Gustard, the previous incumbent, is leaving the role to take over as head coach at Harlequins.

O'Gara, although primarily looking after the outside backs and kicking strategy for Crusaders, does work with head coac Scott Robertson a lot on defence.

During his playing career, there was no other team that O'Gara preferred beating than England. On The Hard Yards, ahead of an Ireland home game against England in March 2017, the Cork native remarked:

"It's not really 15 against 15. It's 15 against 50,000. The power of the supporters should never be underestimated, especially for our country. That's what separates us. There's an incredible bond between [Irish] players and supporters."

He continued, "This is a weekend on which you get measured and they won't be found wanting... It'll be a sad day if England out-desire Ireland in the Aviva."

Advertisement

Whether or not he would be tempted back to Europe to take on a defence brief under the stewardship of Jones is an altogether different matter.