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'I know my answer now' | Ronan O'Gara on his future in coaching

Ronan O'Gara says the lockdown has forced himself and other top-level rugby coaches to re-assess ...

'I know my answer now' | Ronan...

'I know my answer now' | Ronan O'Gara on his future in coaching

Ronan O'Gara says the lockdown has forced himself and other top-level rugby coaches to re-assess how they approach their jobs.

The former Munster and Ireland star, now head coach with Top 14 side La Rochelle in France, told OTB AM the last few months have been a learning curve for him in terms of what is important and what isn't.

"I kind of have [those conversations] with myself to be honest. I think if I'm not right how can I expect the management and the players to be right?

"It's [been] a brilliant opportunity to get better [over] the last four months. The big learning for me was that there's no need to be in the office at six o'clock, [having] breakfast with the kids and bringing them to school is very important as opposed to them thinking you spent the night in a hotel.

"That's what I was doing basically for 15 years until I got this opportunity to re-assess completely everything.

"There's plenty of time to ask yourself, why? Why am I doing this? What do I want out of it? Some of those questions are hard, so you have to be absolutely convinced if you want to do this career. I know my answer now so I can kind of attack it with fresh gusto."

O'Gara said his La Rochelle side have been approaching the comeback to training in a slow fashion, in an attempt to quell the risk of injuries.

"This is a week off this week, so we've had three weeks really soft as a pre- pre-season. Obviously planned but more so with the financial implications... we're allowed two or three hours in the building per day.

"Our performance team have come up with a good plan having looked at the Bundesliga and the NRL with the spike in injuries. A lot of teams have gone back too hard too soon, we've kind of set up a plan where we're going to go attack our pre-season on the 13th of July.

"[We'll] have games at the end of August... I'm in Biarritz this week and it's very cautious over here. Everyone's wearing masks which is good to see. Hopefully there won't be a second wave in France."

Connacht head coach Andy Friend struck a similarly philosophical tone on last night's show.

"The way our meetings are structured throughout the course of the day, we're going to change that up.

"We don't always need a meeting. There's a massive opportunity for players to meet, rather than for it to be like a school where it's teachers up the front and kids down the back.

"That's not the way we play rugby, we play rugby with these men and they are out there making decisions. We need to give them space to make decisions, so we've added some of those things to our training schedule for next year which I think will be really exciting for the players.

"Do we have to be at work for 7am [on a Monday] to get our whole working day done?

"No, we don't, we can actually have an hour Zoom meeting on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, depending on what day we play, which allows us to spend time with the kids in the morning, if you need to get them off to school, then get in.

"So all of those little things, and there's another array of those too that we have come up with and I'm excited to see how they work and I think they'll add value to the programme."

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Andy Friend Coronavirus La Rochelle Lockdown Munster Ronan O'Gara Rugby Rugby Coaching