Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has been discussing the inclusion of Ronan O’Gara on the nation’s summer trip the United States.
The former Irish international and currently coaching in France with Top 14 side Racing 92, will join up with Schmidt’s side (along with Girvan Dempsey and Felix Jones) for the match against the USA in New Jersey in June, in what will be an understrength Ireland squad with a large contingent in New Zealand with the Lions.
Speaking to RTE Sport on Sunday, Schmidt revealed that he has a number of conversations with O’Gara, comparing experiences of their time in France (Schmidt was assistant coach at Clermont for three years before signing for Leinster in 2010), and Schmidt says that he hopes that the arrival of three former internationals embarking on their first taste of international rugby will inject a “spark” into proceedings:
“I’ve had a lot of conversations with Ronan over the years, and especially with him being in France and my experiences over there.
“He’s indicated that he’s keen to get into the environment just to get a bit of a look so we’re going to put him to work and he’s going to do some skills-coach work with us.
“Girvan Dempsey, who is I think, growing in confidence all the time in his role in Leinster, and the same with Felix Jones who has made a really positive impression under Rassie Erasmus and Munster.
“I think they are three outstanding young men who have fantastic potential to be coaching in this country and we want to try and get the best out of them on tour.
“I’m really looking forward to working with them. I’ve obviously worked with Girv before and I’ve worked with Felix in a coach-player relationship. He was superb to coach as a player.
“I’ve known Ronan for a long time. They’ll add a bit of a spark to the coaching group.”
Ireland will face the US in the Red Bull Arena on June 10th, before embarking on a two-test tour of Japan later that month.
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