Joe Molloy was joined by Fiona Hayes and Rúaidhrí O'Connor on Monday Night Rugby this evening, looking back at the packed weekend of Heineken Champions Cup action.
Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle came to town over the weekend to take on Ulster, albeit unexpectedly at the Aviva stadium rather than the their home the Kingspan.
Weather conditions saw a late venue change in a game that ultimately concluded 36-29 in the French team’s favour, with a second half surge from Ulster amid an almost empty venue.
Around 100 of the ‘official delegation’ of La Rochelle cohort present garnered some reaction from the Ulster camp, with the whole ordeal reflecting as a “poor look” on the competition according to rugby journalist Rúaidhrí O'Connor.
“They were basically the backers of the club that came over on the club charter for the big trip to Belfast before Christmas” he explained, “they were all in Belfast and the president was like ‘I want these guys in or you’re paying for them’ because he had paid for them to come over.”
“They played hardball basically and they had to let them in” he continued.
"What do you expect from the French teams they're always trying to get away with something!" Grand Slam winner Fiona Hayes said with a smile.
"As a coach you’d be so frustrated because you'd wonder what fans could have brought” she added.
The result inciting a “horrible throwback to COVID” with the “an every stadium and fake crowd noise”, a touchline banned O’Gara also added to the dramatics.
“O’Gara was patrolling around the stadium like he owned it…it was a masterclass”O'Connor said.
“He behaved as if it was his back garden and he was overseeing a training session.”
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