Ronan O'Gara dispels a key perception about Schmidt's Ireland

Munster and Ireland legend speaks to Nathan Murphy

BY Raf Diallo 20:32 Thursday 15 June 2017, 20:32 15 Jun 2017

Pictured Ronan O’Gara ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ronan O'Gara feels outside perceptions of Ireland players not having licence to deviate from the overall plan are not accurate.

Recently, O'Gara got a taste of life as a coach in the Joe Schmidt setup and he described the experience as "fascinating" as he spoke to Off The Ball's Nathan Murphy at the launch of the SoftCo Foundation.

"I think in fairness, himself and David Nucifora, they've maybe a duty to kind of hopefully promote and grow younger coaches and that's exactly what the opportunity was," said O'Gara of Schmidt and the IRFU performance director.

"It was great for me. I didn't have a defined role because you're coming into a camp that's really established and really organised in how they run things and their systems are in place for a long time so if I was to come in, I wouldn't have been up to speed. It was great and I was able to chip in when I wanted to - I didn't do it too often - but in fairness the environment was there if you felt you could suggest something, you can. That's the way he runs the organisation."   

On Schmidt, O'Gara also revealed that it was important to see that "the most fascinating thing was that he also gives [the players] licence to play wherever on the pitch".

"One of the criticisms outside of the camp might be that these guys are robotic and they can't adapt. I would have had the same fears as people. But three or four times every meeting, it's stressed that if you see something, 'I will 100% back you. If the execution isn't correct, it's a different story'. But I think that's really comforting for players." 

He added that "the great thing about playing rugby under Joe Schmidt is the fact that he removes an awful lot of variables" which allows players to concentrate on performance and execution. 

On June 14th, SoftCo, the leading finance automation software provider, with the help of ambassadors Dan Carter and Ronan O’Gara, officially launched the SoftCo Foundation at a star-studded gala dinner in Dun Laoghaire Golf Club where more than €150,000 was raised for charity and a further €100,000 committed for ongoing Cancer Research. The Foundation has selected three charities to partner with for 2017; CMRF Crumlin, The Irish Injured Jockeys Fund and Guys Cancer, London. Visit for more information

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week