Ronan O'Gara has spoken about how he's changed his mindset from being a nervous player to a coach who is embracing a Champions Cup final.
The La Rochelle head coach will lead his side into their first-ever Champions Cup decider against Toulouse in an all-French club showpiece at Twickenham on Saturday.
O'Gara won two Heineken Cups as an out-half with Munster in 2006 and 2008, but his mental approach is completely different now as he bids to guide La Rochelle to the promised land.
He told Alan Quinlan on Newstalk Breakfast that he wants his players to revel in the occasion.
"As you know, I probably had a bit of a mindset reshaping when I went to the Crusaders. Tomorrow is an opportunity for what can go well. This is where you want to be, the final of the Champions Cup. Of course, there's pressure, there's pressure in all games. I know as a player I was crippled with nerves and I didn't enjoy it and that was the wrong way to go about it. You have to enjoy it."
He added: "These are special times in their lives. You have to keep reiterating that to them and making them appreciate that you don't play in a Champions Cup final very often. There are World Cup winners sprinkled among us, there's a lot of guys who have won big games for France, for South Africa, for Fiji - so it's a real mix of nations and cultures, but once you get buy-in, anything is possible."
La Rochelle got the better of Leinster in the semi-final and have become a leading team in the Top 14 in France. They may be slight underdogs against a Toulouse side that is bidding for a fifth European triumph, but the Cork native is excited about what lies ahead on match-day.
"From a potential point of view, I don't know my limit, I don't know where it is. I don't know the team's limit. I think it would be stupid to put a limit on what this team can do and for me tomorrow morning, I'll bounce out of bed as opposed to being wrapped in the duvet and wishing when I was a player that 'oh god, I wish I didn't have to play this game, I only want the result to go well'. You can't live like that, you've got to embrace it, it's a great time to be involved in a Champions Cup final."
Kick-off time for La Rochelle and Toulouse on Saturday is at 4.45.
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