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'I never usually look back, but you do wonder how you'll be remembered'

From the confines of his French home, the spread of coronavirus has given Ronan O'Gara an unprecedented amount of time to think about how he's got to where he is, as he explained on Friday's OTB AM

In May 2013, Ronan O'Gara announced his retirement from all rugby.

Two months later, he was working as a coach in France with Racing 92. Across almost seven years since, the Cork native has worked with Crusaders in New Zealand before returning to France to become the head coach of La Rochelle in the Top 14 last year.

By his own admission, O'Gara has not taken much time to stop and think about how he's got to where he is.

Confined like many others to his home as the uncertain spread of coronavirus continues, the implicit fear of the unknown has nevertheless given Ronan O'Gara this time to think.

"I'm never usually a man for looking back," he clarified on Friday's OTB AM, "but with this pause you have to take stock of where you are and how you want to be remembered.

"For me, the timing was great because from the minute I finished playing in, I went straight back into rugby. This is the first pause I've had since 2013."

Ronan O'Gara Racing's Assistant Coach Ronan O'Gara (2017). Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

From such a memorable playing career, replete with many possible high-points, Ronan O'Gara's consideration of time passed didn't dwell too long on any one moment, however.

"I've probably been hard on myself but it is very important that we acknowledge good days too," he remarked. "The conclusion I came to was just how passionate I am about what I do. I don't look upon it as a job or work.

"One of the key messages I've taken from the last seven days is that this is an opportunity to think, 'Wow, how lucky am I to be running this team in France?'"

Temporarily removed from this reality, Ronan O'Gara was adamant that great care and consideration is needed from people the world over if the threat of coronavirus is to be nullified.

Living within one of the European countries suffering most from the impact of the virus, it has been an eye-opening experience for O'Gara and his young family.

"Everything is out of bounds," he explained of their immediate surroundings in La Rochelle. "I live near a beach here, and even that is out of bounds for going for a walk.

"If you go out for a little walk you'll hear the sirens behind you and two lads will come up and ask for your piece of paper. You have to have a piece of paper on you to explain the reason why you're out of the house.

"You're allowed to go out only if you're getting the essentials from the shop, doing around 20-minutes of exercise a day within a 2 km radius of your house or whether it is essential for your work.

"I was initially a bit looser with my rules being from Cork, but over here they do it differently."

Within the confines of his own home, Ronan O'Gara is quickly adapting to life where rugby is not there to offer an escape.

"Everything is surreal, but it is a great, simple life at the minute," he conceded. "It'll probably get more and more challenging because there is talk of another month of lockdown coming.

"It is very challenging mentally and it has given me an insight into what my wife does when there's school holidays.

"It's a tough slog but I've always been able to escape to rugby and get my satisfaction from that. But I think it has been rewarding in other terms, spending decent time with the kids."

You can watch Ronan O'Gara's interview back in full here

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Read more about

Irish Rugby Football Union La Rochelle Munster New Zealand Racing 92 Ronan O'Gara Rugby Union

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