Late last year came the surprise announcement that Ronan O'Gara would not just be leaving not just France but the northern hemisphere for the next step in his coaching career.
In January, O'Gara made the move to New Zealand, becoming backs coach for Super Rugby side Crusaders.
In a column for The Irish Examiner, O'Gara said that it all started with an innocuous conversation between him and Dan Carter while the two were both at Racing 92. The All Black great started his professional career with the Crusaders and asked if O'Gara would ever consider coaching in New Zealand.
He later told O'Gara that the Crusaders had asked about the former Munster man's abilities as a coach. Carter had given a strong reference.
Speaking to RugbyPass, Carter further elaborated about how the move came about. Carter thought O'Gara's Munster ethos would mesh well with that of the Crusaders.
"It [Racing 92] was his first coaching experience and being a true Munster man, he had that real competitive spirit," said Carter.
It was a similar environment, I felt, from talking to him about his Munster days, similar to a Crusaders environment. It was all about winning, it was all about excellence and the expectation was always to win, to be winning titles.
He brought that to Racing and that was always his mindset. There are just so many similarities between his mindset and the way things were done in the Crusaders.
"They were looking for someone to fill Leon MacDonald’s spot," continued Carter.
"They obviously asked a little bit about Ronan, his character, his coaching ability, things like that.
"It was just such a natural fit, because, I think of that similarity between the Munster system and the Crusaders system. He’s a top man, I worked really closely with him for a couple of years at Racing before he decided to leave us.
"He’s a young coach that’s still developing. From my experience, having all of my development in New Zealand I thought it would be perfect for him."
Carter believes the move will not just be of benefit to O'Gara but also the Crusaders.
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