Coaching Appointments

This week, we have confirmation of two significant coaching appointments with La Rochelle confirming Ronan O Gara to their Head Coach role under Jonno Gibbs who is there Director of Rugby.

He will return to France after 2 seasons in New Zealand as part of the Crusaders coaching ticket alongside Scott Robinson that won a Super Rugby title in 2018 and are still on course to secure another title in 2019 but only time will tell about the destination of the 2019 Super Rugby campaign.

He was part of the Racing 92 coaching team under Lauren Travers and Lauren Labit for 4 years before making his move to New Zealand to continue his apprenticeship in coaching. He has been very clear that although he has been linked to any job that has come up in Ireland since retiring he will return to Ireland to coach one day soon but for now he will continue to ply his trade elsewhere.

This will be his first head coach role as he has only be an assistant since he started out including a short stint with Ireland under Joe Schmidt in 2017 when Ireland went to the USA and Japan for three Tests during the 2017 Lions Tour of New Zealand.

You can be sure he was in the frame to take up a role with Munster when Felix Jones left his position as backs coach but he will instead take up a role in the Top 14 with La Rochelle.

Moving to Munster who yesterday announced the arrival of Stephen Larkham as a senior coach to complete the Munster coaching team for the 2019/2020 season. There is a rumour that another coach may be added to the coaching team before the new season begins.

Larkham will join Munster in August just in time for the pre season matches but you can be sure that he will have certain plans in place and will have forwarded on stuff he will want done before he arrives in the scene to try and hit the ground running.

The hope now will be that the arrival of Graham Rowntree and Stephen Larkham may be the missing pieces of the puzzle after so many near misses in the Pro 14 and Champions Cup in the last few years.

The Munster squad will only have one new name in Nick Mc Carthy and a few players stepping up from the academy like Shane Daly, Gavin Coombes and Sean O Connor who has already played many times for Munster and they will step up to the senior squad and will feel that with the new coaching set up that they will get chances to show what they can do in the new year where you will be short of some Irish Internationals during the World Cup period.

Munster have now put a coaching team in place that they will hope will be there for the long term after Larkham signed on until 2022 and Rowntree did likewise recently. The back room staff is in place now it is over the players to go out and thrive because the focus will be on from week 1. The heavy investment will hopefully reap rewards from early next year. All the clubs who will play in Europe next year will find out who they will face in Europe next week…..

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