Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara admits that his new director of rugby role at La Rochelle is not quite what he had expected it to be.
O'Gara joined Les Corsaires in 2019 as head coach, having previously worked on the back-room teams at Top14 rivals Racing 92 and Crusaders in New Zealand.
In April, O'Gara succeeded Jono Gibbes as Director of Rugby at the French club after the latter had moved to Clermont.
O'Gara joined Adrian Barry and Eoin Sheahan on Friday's OTB AM. He explained the challenges he has faced in his new brief, especially with former Ireland lock Donnacha Ryan joining his coaching ticket.
"It's been very time-consuming," O'Gara said. "I've struggled with walking out and leaving my rugby position for the last three or four months, but it's not sustainable what I'm doing, so I've gotta be better at that."
"Donnacha Ryan is in, and I'm trying to introduce him to coaching, to get him involved with something that he'll love."
"But, at the minute, I'm not creating the right conditions for him. So, in that regard, I'd love to hear his view of what is happening right now!"
"My instinct is that the hours are too long", O'Gara added. It's not that enjoyable, and we could do it differently."
"We haven't established a routine yet between us - we barely get to see each other. That's not good, because he's also in a new role, and we're learning on the run as well."
"That's what happens, I suppose - the coaching group lacks experience, but it doesn't lack hunger or energy."
"It doesn't lack the capacity to do what we want to do, and that excites me."
O'Gara: "We were suffering from a hangover from last season."
O'Gara also notes that the team are still feeling the effects of losing both the Top14 and Champions Cup finals last season. La Rochelle have won 4 out of 8 games in the Top14 so far, and currently sit in 5th place.
"We were definitely suffering from a hangover from last season, no doubt about that," O'Gara said.
"Losing one final is bad, but losing two is pretty difficult to handle or to get an understanding of."
"A lot of our players and staff are still looking for answers. But sometimes sport isn't about answers."
O'Gara added: "The great thing is that there was never any panic. We understand that we're a good team. Once you understand that, it gives you an opportunity to grow, to get better."
"But there were some frank discussions, because the club is not used to winning."
"When you're in a new role, you're also trying to manage that. But we're in a results business, and when results don't go your way, you try to fix it."
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