Ronan O'Gara on way back to Fr...

Rugby

Ronan O'Gara on way back to France for La Rochelle role

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

10:47 12 Jun 2019


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After 18 months with the Crusaders in New Zealand, Ronan O’Gara is heading back to France to take up a head coach role with La Rochelle.

There has been much speculation in recent months as to what the Munster legend’s next move would be.

Speaking to Off The Ball last month O'Gara said that "nothing is done yet" but that a decision would be made within the coming weeks.

"I’ve got to weigh up a few options. There's some really tough decisions to make. So hopefully... there will be a decision. But nothing is done yet."

O’Gara added that he was considering a number of avenues.

"There are other options. There are two or three other options. It's a great position to be in."

The Irish Examiner reported today that the French side had confirmed the appointment, with O'Gara scheduled to take up the position at the end of July.

"I’m grateful to the Crusaders for the faith they’ve shown in me as a coach, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have worked alongside a world-class playing and management group for the last two seasons," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

"While I see this move to La Rochelle as the next step in my coaching career and an exciting opportunity for my young family, I’d like to think, long-term, this is not necessarily the end of my time with the Crusaders.

"My focus now is helping to deliver a successful 2019 campaign with the side before my family and I return to France at the end of the season," he added.

He will work alongside Director of Rugby Jonno Gibbes, and replaces Xavier Garbajosa, who left the side earlier this month for a head coach role at Montpellier.

La Rochelle were beaten 20-6 by Toulouse in last weekend's Top 14 semi-finals.

O'Gara will head into his new role knowing the side well, having spent four years with Racing 92 between 2013 and 2017.

He has publicly turned down the opportunity to return to Paris under Laurent Travers.

The confirmation of his new role will bring some disappointment to Munster fans who were lingering to the possibility that he was in the mix for a role with them.

It's set to be the former fly-half's first time to have full responsibility for on-field coaching at a club.

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