FORMER MUNSTER OUT-HALF Ronan O’Gara is flattered to be linked to the head coach job following news of Rob Penney’s imminent departure.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Game On, the Racing Métro assistant coach admitted the opportunity to follow in Penney’s footsteps, during the summer, may have come a season too soon.
“Jeez, of course I’d be flattered with something like that because Munster is a great team,” O’Gara said. “I’m just eight months into a new job at Racing Métro and I’ve a fantastic opportunity here. I’ve really landed on my feet with the opportunity I’ve been given here.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s business as usual; keep the head down, keep working and I’ll try to progress as best I can. But if a door were to open for Munster, you’d always listen.”
“For me, for a head coach, it’s much too soon,” he added. “I’m really enjoying what I’m learning and hopefully that dream will be alive some time in the future.”
O’Gara said he was delighted that Penney got to move on ‘on his own terms’ and secure a deal with a Japanese side that would bring clarity and comfort to his family life. The province, he added, is in the good hands of Anthony Foley and team manager Niall O’Donovan. In his Irish Examiner column today, O’Gara said it was ‘too early in my coaching career’ to take the top job but he did not entirely rule out taking up a position as backs coach.
Former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan, meanwhile, told RTÉ he had not yet decided whether to apply for the role that Penney will vacate at the end of the season. “It’s a top job,” said O’Sullivan. “The last time, I made no secret about the fact that I applied for it and didn’t get interviewed. I may have to think twice about [applying again].”
The Cork native said current forwards coach Anthony Foley — ‘a guy born and bred Munster’ — would have to be the front-runner for the main job.