La Rochelle, led by former Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara, secured a thrilling 27-26 victory over Leinster in the final of the Champions Cup. This marks the second successive season that La Rochelle has defeated Leinster in the final. The game was played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, where the Irish province had been hoping to secure their fifth European title. However, the French team fought back from 17-0 down to clinch the win in a nail-biting finish.
In an interview with the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast, O’Gara expressed his desire to coach Ireland in the future. He acknowledged that he would need to earn the right to do so, but his success with La Rochelle suggests that he has the potential to lead a national team. O’Gara was appointed by La Rochelle in June 2019, following coaching spells at Racing 92 and New Zealand side Crusaders. He described the victory over Leinster as one of the highlights of his career, both as a player and a coach.
O’Gara, who won the Champions Cup twice with Munster as a player, helped Ireland win the Six Nations Grand Slam, and went on three British and Irish Lions tours, praised the character of his team. He commended their ability to fight back from a significant deficit and secure the win. He also spoke about the team’s camaraderie and the importance of character in sport. La Rochelle’s victory marks the team as a special one, in O’Gara’s opinion.
Despite his joy at La Rochelle’s victory, O’Gara expressed sympathy for Leinster. The Irish province has lost in three of the last five Champions Cup finals, after winning the title in 2018. O’Gara described sport as ruthless and acknowledged the disappointment felt by the Leinster management and players.
Ronan O’Gara is Ireland’s record points scorer and the country’s second-most capped player, with 128 appearances. His success as a coach with La Rochelle, combined with his impressive playing career, make him a strong candidate for coaching roles at the national level. However, for now, he is focused on continuing to lead La Rochelle to further success.
In conclusion, Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle secured a thrilling victory over Leinster in the final of the Champions Cup, marking the second successive season that the French team has defeated the Irish province in the final. O’Gara, who coaches La Rochelle, expressed his desire to coach Ireland in the future. He praised the character of his team and acknowledged the disappointment felt by Leinster. O’Gara’s success as a coach and his impressive playing career make him a strong candidate for coaching roles at the national level.