Ronan O’Gara names the coach he thinks would do an ‘outstanding’ job at Munster

Ronan O'Gara Munster

Ronan O’Gara has questioned why Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall hasn’t been more widely linked to Munster.

Johann van Graan announced during the week that he will leave his position as Munster’s head coach at the end of the season, which has sparked much speculation as to who will take over.

O’Gara was of course one of the names rumoured to be in the running, but the La Rochelle director of rugby has ruled himself out of a return to his native province, explaining that he seeks to see out his three-year contract with the French club.

The former Munster and Ireland fly-half was writing in his column for the Irish Examiner and suggested that Saracens boss McCall is someone who should be strongly considered as a replacement for van Graan.

Ronan O’Gara on Munster’s next head coach.

“There are options in terms of structuring a new management team – whether they do director of rugby and a head coach, or a pair of head coaches like I had with Laurent Travers and Laurent Labit at Racing 92. Mike Prendergast and Graham Rowntree could work well,” O’Gara wrote.

“Some speculation is already pointing towards New Zealand, which is interesting. Scott Robertson would want to coach the All Black next, so that is very doubtful. Jason Holland is with the Hurricanes now, and there are only five franchises in New Zealand, so it is a prized gig.

“But I would imagine Munster’s wellbeing would always interest him and he is a bloody brilliant coach with a bundle of knowledge from both hemispheres at this stage. It’s not like there’s a shortage of good options closer to home.

“I haven’t seen Mark McCall’s name mentioned so far though I am not sure why. He would be an outstanding candidate, has done it at the highest level and could be someone ripe for a new challenge.”

Mark McCall has overseen plenty of success at Saracens.

Former Ulster and Ireland centre McCall was a wealth of experience as a director of rugby, having first assumed the position with Saracens all the way back in January 2011.

Since then, Saracens have won the Heineken Champions Cup on three occasions and the Gallagher Premiership four times, as McCall guided the north London club to being one of the most dominant powers in European rugby.

McCall is under contract with Saracens until the end of the 2024/25 season, and is obviously very highly-regarded at the club.

It may prove to be impossible to lure McCall away from Saracens, but should Munster be successful in doing so, they would have an extremely experienced operator taking the reins.

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