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Ronan O’Gara believes rugby has been revitalised after disappointing Lions tour

Ronan O’Gara positive about state of rugby.

Ronan O’Gara believes rugby is back to its best after a British and Irish Lions tour that proved to be a “massive disappointment”.

Normally a heralded event on the rugby calendar, there was very little to savour in the Lions’ tour of South Africa this year, due to one-sided warm-up games and an uninspired test series.

It also didn’t help that the entire tour was played in front of empty stadiums, while there was also considerable doubts over whether the series could be completed due to positive Covid-19 cases in the Lions’ and Springboks’ camps.

O’Gara was speaking on BBC 5 Live and argued that there are plenty of reasons for rugby fans to be excited again.

Ronan O’Gara on the revitalisation of rugby.

“I think the rugby played on that tour wasn’t a representation of what we stand for on this side of the world,” O’Gara said.

“It was a massive disappointment to see the best of our players playing like that.

“But [during the autumn] the skill level, the tempo with which a lot of teams were playing, the mindset – everyone seems to be completely refreshed, renewed and reinvigorated, with a juicy Six Nations coming up, but before that four rounds of Europe which will, I think, get people even more excited again.

“So it’s probably gone a complete 360°, with crowds back, the best of rugby back, and the best of competitions with the European Cup and the Six Nations.”

The La Rochelle boss has plenty to look forward to.

O’Gara has experienced a mixed start to life as La Rochelle’s director of rugby, as the side have won six and lost six of their Top 14 matches this season, and currently sit in fifth place in the table.

La Rochelle are certainly still in contention for the Top 14 title, although they haven’t yet been able to replicate the form that saw them reach the final of both the Top 14 and the Heineken Champions Cup last season.

The French side have a relatively favourable draw in the pool stage of this year’s Champions Cup, as they come up against a Glasgow Warriors side in decent form, and a Bath side who have lost their nine opening Gallagher Premiership fixtures.

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