Striking up a partnership with the Crusaders in New Zealand, Ronan O'Gara described the development of the All Blacks' #10, Richie Mo'unga.
'Freakishly talented' though Ronan O'Gara describes him, the former Crusaders coach came close to losing faith in Richie Mo'unga.
One of New Zealand's stars as Steve Hansen looks to guide the All Blacks to a third successive World Cup win, where O'Gara will now be hoping Mo'unga delivers on his potential in the final rounds of the tournament, he revisited the difficulties that hampered their relationship upon his arrival in New Zealand.
"The first three months were very awkward," admitted O'Gara on Friday's OTB AM, "a bit of a stand-off [between us].
"I kind of said to him, 'Richie, your work-rate is nowhere near good enough to get what you want. You can be a bit-part of the All Blacks with your talent, but I don't think you'll be anywhere near good enough.'
Impressed by his talent, but underwhelmed by what Mo'unga was doing with it, personal experience assured O'Gara that the #10 would struggle to make an impression on the world's stage if he failed to address this issue.
"I had worked with Dan Carter in Racing, knew my own work-rate as a player and had worked with Jonny Wilkinson," he explained. "I knew what was required to be a top-level kicker, but Richie was a part-time kicker.
"At first, I wasn't doing any extras with this guy because he's just turning up here and there, and that's not good for either of us. I had a complete clean-out discussion with him and from then it flowed."
What has become great news for Crusaders and the All Blacks is now an issue for Ireland, however.
Although he is trying to balance his personal and professional relationships when both sides meet on Saturday morning, O'Gara did offer some insight into what Ireland must do if they wish to hamper Richie Mo'unga's influence on proceedings.
"They need to push him into a space where he has very little time to think and he gets flustered," he outlined. "That happens to all #10s no matter how good they are."
For a full recap of Ronan O'Gara's pre-match chat, click here.