Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball

'It's not competitive' | ROG says URC not the right model for Irish provinces

Ronan O'Gara has told OTB AM the United Rugby Championship is not the 'right model' - so is playing in it a disadvantage for Irish provinces?

'It's not competitive' | ROG s...

'It's not competitive' | ROG says URC not the right model for Irish provinces

Ronan O'Gara has spoken about the relative lack of competitiveness and history in the United Rugby Championship (URC) when compared to club action for French and English teams.

Speaking on OTB AM this morning, the La Rochelle head coach said the Irish provinces are at an immediate disadvantage when it comes to regular competitive games.

"What jumps out straight away is the fact that you're probably advancing their development if they're playing in a Premiership or Top 14 or a URC that's competitive, but it's not competitive.

"So they're not developing as fast or as necessarily quick as they should be. That's not to knock the model at home, but what's available overseas when you have a genuine Top 14 or genuine Premership where there's massive pride and history involved in winning that competition - that doesn't exist for the Irish, Welsh and Scotish provinces - it's all about Europe.

"It's obviously reduced now to four games and then back-to-back games in the last-16, quarters, semi - that's not enough games for anybody!

"You don't really need to be carrying big squads anymore because the games are cut, and when it comes to Six Nations time you're playing teams that are missing other Six Nations members.

"So mismatches are happening - I think Leinster no matter what gear they were in were winning by 40 or 50 points. Players develop better when they're playing tighter games, and that's when you really balance your squad.

"I don't think the URC is the [right] model at the minute."

O'Gara was also asked if that lack of game time could lead bit-part players to seek opportunities elsewhere abroad - and he pointed out that in his playing days that wouldn't have even been a consideration.

"I think that's changing now with the generations but from my time it was all about playing for Munster, and you did absolutely everything you could.

"There was no other club that mattered, this is what I want to do, get to Thomond Park every Saturday. Then you taste what a European day in Thomond Park is, and then you just want more, and more, and more, and more.

"If there were two fellas in your position or five fellas in your position it didn't matter - you wanted to play."

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English Premiership La Rochelle Munster Munster Rugby Otb Am Rog Ronan O'Gara Rugby Thomond Park Top 14 URC United Rugby Championship