Ronan O'Gara rules himself out of the race for Connacht job

The former Munster man said he has not been contacted by the province

BY Adrian Collins 07:33 Friday 9 December 2016, 7:33 9 Dec 2016

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

The somewhat shock departure of Pat Lam this week from his role as head coach of Connacht has left the province looking for a replacement who can help them to sustain their recent success.

Lam heads to Bristol to try and replicate what he achieved in the west of Ireland, but the next step for the PRO12 champions will be a decisive one. 

While there has been plenty of early speculation about who could step in to replace him, former Munster and Ireland player Ronan O'Gara has decided to rule himself out of the running. 

In his column for the Irish Examiner, O'Gara stated that Connacht haven't made any contact with him to date, and that even if they were to get in touch, he would have to tell them that he isn't currently interested in the position.

Referring to the time he has spent so far in France, O'Gara said: "Racing were in the final of the European Cup and won the Top 14 last season. It doesn’t get much better than that. And that didn’t materialise overnight, there’s more than three years' work gone into that.

"It’s just too early for me to consider something like that at home," O'Gara continued. "At this point, I don’t want to give up what we have at Racing 92, I am too interested in it, too much invested in it just to up sticks.

"I am 39 now. I have time. If I was going home to Ireland, it mightn’t even be for coaching. Nobody should pigeon-hole themselves into career boxes.

"My job now is getting Racing 92’s players to perform. Other people decide how well I do my job. For Pat Lam, Bristol decided he was doing just the sort of job they required to move forward. And they were ready to pay big for the pleasure. It was an opportunity the New Zealander had to take."

The Examiner report that, given O'Gara has ruled himself out, the odds have shortened significantly on Bernard Jackman, another Irish coach who has been achieving success with his Grenoble side. 

Speaking on Off the Ball earlier this week, Eddie O'Sullivan also touched on the possibility that he may be interested in the job, but highlighted that he wasn't sure whether or not the window for his return to the game in Ireland as a coach may now be closed.

"I actually don't know the answer to that question, I'm not avoiding it and I don't want to be evasive," O'Sullivan said. "I have asked people myself and have been told there's no problem, but I just haven't been able to break back into Irish rugby.

"I felt going away to America was a good one for me and then coming back in 2012 that there would be enough time for things to settle down, but nothing has happened since. 

"I've been told, pretty much from the highest level, that I haven't teed anybody off. So as far as I can see there's no reason for it."

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