La Rochelle need to be more clever about when to give away penalties in games, according to their head coach, Ronan O’Gara.

The French side conceded 17 penalties, including two yellow cards and a red card against Sale Sharks in their Champions Cup clash at the weekend, which dearly cost them in the 25-15 loss.

While ill-discipline hasn’t been a problem in every game for La Rochelle this season, O’Gara admitted it was something that required attention.

“I think you have to educate players. I have to educate my players. I have to actually show them what are non-negotiable [penalties].

“Then you have to actually show them if there is such a thing as a good penalty. Which there are in certain cases. They didn’t get penalised in the scrum. We got penalised in the scrum four times. Then you’re down to 12.

“We had another one, a yellow card, for a potential early tackle in a try-saving scenario. I don’t think you can have any issue with that.

“Geoffrey Doumayrou stood on a player’s hand. That’s normally a yellow card so we probably got away with one there,” O’Gara commented.

The former Ireland international felt that his side will have to listen more closely to referees to prevent so many penalties in the future.

“I think putting players in scenarios about when is it a good time to give away a penalty and when isn’t it? Then obviously we’ve got to understand [the referee].

“We did actually profile the referee and we actually listened to him before the game. But unfortunately, we either misunderstood the message or he didn’t referee how he said he would throughout the game,” O’Gara said.

Although it hasn’t been the perfect start to the season for La Rochelle, O’Gara remains positive about his side.

"The most pleasing aspect of it all is that you do feel you're getting better and you do feel that players are buying in.

“Once you have that it makes going, bot going to work, but it makes you appreciate that you’re working with a good group.

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