Ronan O’Gara believes the main priority for Andy Farrell over the next 18 months is to build Ireland’s strength in depth while expanding the game plan.
With Ireland completing their Six Nations campaign with a respectable second place finish and a Triple Crown, Farrell will now turn his attention to this summer’s tour of New Zealand.
Ireland will take on the All Blacks in a three-part Test series, aiming to win on New Zealand soil for the first time, while there are also plans to face the Maori All Blacks in two more games.
O’Gara thinks Farrell’s team is in a good place, but he is aware of some issues.
“The main priority is just to keep adding, keep adding,” said the La Rochelle head coach.
“Sometimes the mentality of the Irish is they try to drill holes or assume there’s going to be a big fall, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. just leave them out
“They are in good form, they have momentum, there is a fight for places, the momentum seems good. You are allowed to have a lucky camp that exists in sports.
“So what you want as a head coach is competition for places and they have that probably two-thirds of the time.
“Two-thirds is probably a bit tough. In most positions, but with perhaps a few notable exceptions.
“It’s not that the competition for places isn’t there, just when you have someone like Tadhg Furlong he’s very difficult to replace.
“Johnny (Sexton) in his current form is difficult to replace but that’s probably also due to an asterisk that the lads who want to take his place are totally under-rugby.
“It’s a position you get better at with minutes and experience and experience in big games but they don’t have that.
“Poor old Joey (Carbery) has been plagued with injuries and with a Six Nations title on the line Johnny is number one ten so he’s not just going to give easy minutes to someone else when the team is playing better when it is best is out-half is on the field.
“As you get closer to Rugby World Cup or from now on, the focus will be Ireland having to establish who their number two and number three are in the second half.”
Fresh from winning the Grand Slam in Paris last weekend, the optimistic mood in France has risen.
With O’Gara on site and working with some French players at La Rochelle, the former Munster and Ireland outside half believe Les Bleus will be set for their home World Cup next year.
“There has been a very high feel-good factor here since the weekend,” added O’Gara.
“Maybe different from November when they beat the All Blacks.
“It was a sense of accomplishment to win the Grand Slam. It was something they identified with and they probably said, “We’ve got to win this if we’re thinking about trying to win a home World Cup.”
“Even more so than Ireland, they have such depth power in many positions but they still rely on keeping their five world-class players fit to give themselves a chance.
“They have more strength at depth, there’s no doubt about that, but between Ireland and France the quality of the Test team is very similar.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/international-rugby/build-more-depth-and-refine-the-game-plan-ronan-ogara-on-irelands-to-do-list-41478536.html Build more depth and refine the game plan – Ronan O’Gara on Ireland’s to-do list