Rugby

"He was cold to me" | Ronan O'Gara was never expecting Steve Hansen to call


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Appointed head coach of France's La Rochelle during the summer, Ronan O'Gara discussed his frosty relationship with All Blacks' head coach Steve Hansen during his spell with the Crusaders in New Zealand. 

On a weekend where Ireland meet New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-final, Ronan O'Gara confirmed that he had been left alone by representatives of both sides on Friday's OTB AM.

Despite possessing an acute knowledge of both set-ups, the former Ireland international and Crusaders coach never really expected Joe Schmidt or Steve Hansen to probe him for information on either side, however.

Outlining what he expects of both teams in Saturday morning's highly anticipated clash, O'Gara discussed the complicated nature of his relationship with Steve Hansen, and why he would never have expected the World Cup-winning coach to reach out.

"He was cold to me," the Munster legend explained, "he was cold to me in my time [with the Crusaders].

"I kind of made up with him a year or two later, but I think at the start he struggled to get his head around what I was doing there.

"Particularly with the World Cup coming up, particularly with Ireland going so well.

"But I shook hands with him and made it clear that I have ambitions of my own to try and coach at the highest level."

Reaching some sense of understanding with Steve Hansen, O'Gara explored the source of the New Zealander's initial concern.

"I think maybe the fact that it was never really done before and Steve Hansen has been around for a long time," he noted of Ireland's two defeats of the All Blacks and how this changed the outlook of Joe Schmidt's side in New Zealand.

"I went in and got a good reaction out of the Crusaders players and a lot of them are All Blacks. I'd say it was strange at the start that I was coming in."

Given his personal relationship with Ireland and the professional ambition that took him to New Zealand, O'Gara admitted that it might be a slight case of win-win for him on Saturday.

"Of course I'll be shouting for Ireland," he confirmed, "but at the same time, there'll be a bit of pride in how some of the backs play for the All Blacks.

"I've no problem stating that."

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All Blacks Joe Schmidt New Zealand Ronan O'Gara Rugby World Cup Steve Hansen

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