Irish great Ronan O'Gara could be heading to the Crusaders as assistant coach. If so, it is a move that would be welcomed by Crusaders first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga.

The Irish Examiner has revealed O'Gara is set to link up with Scott Robertson at the Crusaders next season on a two-year deal.

O'Gara, the three-time British and Irish Lions tourist and Irish centurion who played over 200 games for Munster, was one of the world's leading first-fives and points scorers in his playing days.

Since retiring from international rugby and ceding the Irish throne to Jonathan Sexton, O'Gara has spent the past five years with glamour French club Racing Metro as defence mentor. There he also worked alongside Dan Carter.


In that time O'Gara and Carter are thought to have formed a friendship, and the former All Blacks playmaker could well have helped foster connections with the Crusaders.

One face value, if reports are correct, O'Gara seems a natural fit to replace Leon MacDonald who announced he would step back from the Crusaders and return to Tasman to be closer to his family.

Replacing MacDonald is no easy fix but O'Gara could help further groom the likes of Mo'unga.

Mo'unga had only just read the news in Paris but, at this early stage of his career, he could only benefit from someone of O'Gara's experience.

"He was one of the best in the world when he was around. If the rumours are true it would be pretty cool," Mo'unga told the Herald in Paris.

"He would be very knowledgeable from a 10's perspective. Leon was a huge help for me this year. He didn't play 10 but he was an outside specialist. When he announced he wasn't coming back I was a bit gutted but I'm excited for whoever gets the opportunity and if it's him it would be awesome. I've never met him or anything but it would be cool."

A move to New Zealand would be a considerable one for O'Gara, who with wife Jessica, has five children. But he has expressed a strong desire to gain more experience abroad before pursuing a head coaching role in future.

Should the 40-year-old sign with the Crusaders he would be the only foreign coach in the New Zealand Super Rugby set up, other than Welshman Alistair Rogers at the Blues.

Rogers has, however, spent considerable time in New Zealand which included a stint in the All Blacks management team as video analyst.