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IRFU confirm that Ronan O’Gara could coach Ireland without provincial experience

Ronan O'Gara Ireland

IRFU performance director David Nucifora has revealed that Ronan O’Gara could become Ireland head coach without coaching one of the provinces first.

O’Gara has coached with three clubs since his playing career finished in 2013 – Racing 92, the Crusaders and La Rochelle – but has never spent time coaching one of the four provinces.

While the last five Irish head coaches – Andy Farrell, Joe Schmidt, Declan Kidney, Eddie O’Sullivan and Warren Gatland – have all coached with either one of the provinces or the national team in an assistant capacity before taking the top job, Nucifora revealed that it isn’t necessary if one hopes to take charge of Ireland.

David Nucifora: ‘There’s always different ways of doing things.’

Nucifora was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday and confirmed that O’Gara could take over as Ireland head coach without taking on a smaller role beforehand in the country.

“No, there’s always different ways of doing things. I’d be a great supporter of people going offshore and gaining new and different experiences,” Nuciofora said, via RTE.

“Ronan has been really courageous in the move he’s made, to go out there and try and develop himself as a coach. It may be that he comes back through the provincial system but it’s not a requirement.”

Ronan O'Gara Ireland

Ronan O’Gara on why he left Ireland to coach.

O’Gara has spoken before about why he opted to leave Ireland to pursue a coaching career, and explained that he was afraid that familiarity would hamper his progress as a coach.

The La Rochelle head coach was speaking to The Telegraph last month about why he chose to leave Ireland, and said he feared it would have been a “disaster” to coach Munster after he was finished playing with them.

“It would have been an absolute disaster to have gone into Munster. We are all influenced by our environment and institutionalised at certain stages,” O’Gara explained.

“I played with a lot of really good players who became very good friends. But if you want to be a real coach, it’s not great as a starting point to be going in and having conversations with guys that you’ve already spent 10 years with as a player.”

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