Ronan O'Gara has opened up about his coaching ambitions, saying he is open to coaching the All Blacks or becoming the head coach of the Crusaders.

In reality, being involved with the national team is probably more likely. Despite Scott Robertson signing a new contract to remain in New Zealand as head coach of the Crusaders, he is still a chance to take over from Steve Hansen as All Blacks coach and if he did he would probably take O'Gara, a former Ireland test first-five, with him as backs coach.

Asked today about his future – his contract runs out at the end of the year – and whether he would apply for the top Crusaders job should Robertson move on, O'Gara replied: "It would be a big job to apply for - I wouldn't be scared of putting my name in if it was the right thing to do. Sport has taught me that these things work themselves out.

"That means Razor wouldn't take me to the All Blacks job which I'd have to ask him questions about. Everything is possible. I'm ambitious and competitive but I think the most important thing is if I do my job these things look after themselves. I have a fantastic backline here."


Australian-born Mick Byrne is a previous All Blacks assistant coach. Byrne, now coaching the Wallabies, was highly regarded as a kicking and skills coach, so backs coach O'Gara, who was born in the United States, wouldn't be the first foreign coach of the All Blacks but he would be the first to have such a high-profile role.

O'Gara, 41, played 128 times for Ireland and joined the Crusaders last year after a recommendation from Dan Carter, whom he coached at French club Racing Metro.

O'Gara quickly struck up a relationship with the Crusaders' players, many of whom represent the All Blacks, plus Robertson.

He was part of a Crusaders side which lost only two games on their way to the Super Rugby title last year and is in charge of a backline which is playing with variety and composure aligned with a lot of enthusiasm with two wins from two matches this year.

"I'd back myself [for a promotion] like Razor would back himself," O'Gara said. "That's the thing about this environment – you become very positive."

Asked about his plans after this year – O'Gara's contract expires at the end of the season – he said: "It's a fantastic rugby club - it offers everything. I just have to make sure [staying on] is the right decision for my wife and five kids. If it was my decision I know where I'd want to be. You have to stop being selfish … and be realistic. Believe me, it comes up at the dinner table a lot."

He said a positive and optimistic mindset was probably the biggest area of development for him personally since his arrival in Christchurch.

"The rugby side of it I get. And I would always back myself to get on with people and connect with people but I'm probably further down the track than I expected … I think it's important that you work that every day. You have to be honest with the players and realistic with them and I hope they appreciate that of me."