O’Gara: I want to coach Munster

Ronan O’Gara may be considering his playing future but he is in no doubt about the challenges that lie beyond — he wants to coach Munster.

The veteran fly-half, 36, will this summer decide whether to take up a one-year playing contract with his home province or explore pastures new, hinting that there may be coaching offers on the table further afield.

Either way, as O’Gara prepares to face Harlequins on Sunday at The Stoop in Munster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against the English champions, there is only one ultimate career destination in his mind.

“I’d love to coach,” O’Gara said yesterday. “I want to coach Munster. Of course I do, because it’s my home team. There will be steps you’ve got to take before you do that so I’ve got to go to come back, is how I look at it.

“Because I only know one way and that’s the Munster way and to be the best possible you need to see different cultures and different teams, how they operate. (But) that’s for another day’s chat.”

In the meantime, O’Gara must decide whether to play on with the province he helped to Heineken Cup success in 2006 and 2008 or start his quest for coaching knowledge as early as next season.

“I genuinely don’t know (about that decision). It won’t be in the next three or four weeks anyway; it’ll be after that. I’ve just got to ask myself … I’ d be a 100-per-center so I’ve got to decide whether I’m prepared to give it 100% or else just move on to the next challenge, which interests me, which is coaching Munster.

“I’m in negotiations (for a Munster contract). In fairness the goods are there. It’s not a question of that; it’s a question of what I want to do.”

More immediately, O’Gara has some broader concerns for the team as they ready themselves for the Harlequins clash on the back of some worrying form which culminated in a 51-24 hammering by Glasgow in the RaboDirect Pro12 last weekend.

“There were parts of the game that weren’t too bad,” he reasoned of the Scotstoun performance on Friday. “Obviously when you throw three intercepts and you gift 21 points it’s going to put a different perspective on the game but we made it easy for them and probably the way we capitulated towards the end was un-Munster-like and a small bit worrying. We need to be mentally stronger and stronger in our body language going into another crucial away game.”

The Corkman did not discount his side putting in a big performance on Sunday, regardless of how bad a place in which Munster appeared to be.

“Yeah I think it can, it’s going to come from the players. It has to come. I think preparation and results and plenty of things haven’t been ideal but if ever there is a time to stick together and our backs are to the wall.

“People are right to probably question what we’re doing and how we’re playing but as the players we want to deliver and that will be our goal on Sunday.”

Asked what Munster had been missing, he replied: “I think balance. We have to be selective when we go wide as opposed to being selective when we go up the middle, if that makes sense.

“We have to give ourselves the chance of winning the game as opposed to losing the game in terms of making Harlequins win the game. It’s subtle differences there for a fella that knows his rugby.

“It’s a new team. I think it’s a different team and a different mindset. If we can get the mindset hopefully we will get the performance. Essentially Sunday evening it could be season over, so if that doesn’t motivate us then we’d be disappointed.”

Meanwhile, Munster’s Ian Nagle and Ivan Dineen have extended their contracts with the province. Nagle has agreed a one year extension while Dineen has signed on for a further two. Scrum-half Cathal Sheridan moves from a development to a full one-year contract while Barry O’Mahony extends his development contract for another season.

Wing/full-back Sean Scanlon moves on at the end of the season after agreeing terms with Rotherham Titans.

Academy players Cian Bohane, Duncan Casey, James Cronin, Ronan O’Mahony and Niall Scannell have all secured development contracts for 2013/14.

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