O'Gara relishing second Crusaders stint

Getty Images

    09 Feb 2019     Getty Images

He's been back in Ireland on Six Nations duty with local media companies for the start of the 2019 series which saw Ireland go down to England last week and sees them playing Scotland in a key game on Sunday (NZT).

The Crusaders are to play the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.

O'Gara said the time he had spent in Ireland in Munster reminded him of his season with the Crusaders last year.

He told the Limerick Leader, "They are both very player driven. There is a great bunch of players there.

"Take, for example, players like Paul O'Connell and Kieran Read. They are both the best in the world and they are in the dressing room. People might not believe me, but you have to come down here to see that. There are huge similarities between the camps," he said.

Asked if as a result of his connection with winning sides in the French Top 14 and Super Rugby, with Racing92 and the Crusaders, he was the finished article as a coach, O'Gara said he was still only finding his feet.

"This is my seventh year as a coach and I am always learning. You live in the now and I am so privileged to have such brilliant 'pupils' if you want to call it that, at the Crusaders," he said.

"Engagement is key in anything and that is something the Crusaders are brilliant at. They are an absolute joy to work with.

"I get great fulfilment out of working with them. That is a great driving factor, watching lads who see you and coaches as someone to rely on. With young players especially.

"We have a player this season, Leicester Faingaanuku. He was New Zealand Under-20 last season. When you get to work with someone like that, it is a brilliant project to work with. That is on an individual basis.

"I have a duty also to the Crusaders as a whole. That gives you a great sense of achievement when you see those players develop," he said.

As for Ireland's chances of beating Scotland, he said, Ireland needed to win the collisions because they hadn't against England and Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray were forced to play on the back foot, something they weren't used to.

"I don't think we adjusted particularly well to that. Scotland aren't as physical as England. There is no doubt about that. I think Ireland need to be more accurate in their ball carrying and improve their tempo. I think those two areas would be a big focus of mine," he said.