Ronan O’Gara gives classy interview after La Rochelle’s final heartbreak

ronan o'gara interview

“There’s no point being second best.”

Ronan O’Gara gave a classy interview to Virgin Media’s Shane Horgan after La Rochelle’s agonising 22-17 defeat to fellow French side Toulouse.

O’Gara didn’t want to dwell too much on the officiating of the game, and was full of praise for the character his side showed when down to 14 men for the vast majority of the 80 minutes.

Ronan O’Gara on La Rochelle not taking their opportunities.

The former Munster and Ireland out-half accepted that his La Rochelle side failed to capitalise on their opportunities during the game and that they were second best on the day.

“Yeah it’s tough but my gut reaction says I don’t think we were very accurate, didn’t think we were very disciplined,” O’Gara told Virgin Media.

“We made it look tight maybe at the end. A few contentious decisions maybe but you got to park that Shaggy [Shane Horgan] we weren’t good enough on the day.

“I thought we were a bit hesitant in the first 40 and we missed a few kicks at goal, we didn’t take our opportunities

“But they were hanging on so you’d admire what we did with 14 men.”

Ronan O’Gara interview – Levani Botia’s red card.

The La Rochelle head coach took responsibility himself for the sending off, revealing that Levani Botia didn’t train during the week.

“I have to ask myself on Levani Botia – the poor guy who got sent off – he hadn’t trained you know. His timing was off a little bit so that plays on my mind big time,” O’Gara continued.

“Yeah it does [have an impact] there’s no doubt about it. Keeping it to one try I think it was but we weren’t accurate with the ball.

“We needed to be better, as we know it would have been a little bit easier if we got dry conditions.

“It’s a bit of a learning curve but it was all about winning today – when you look at that there was a five points difference in the end, 15 against 14.”

“Tactically spot on.”

His former teammate Horgan then put it to Ireland’s record points scorer that he got it “tactically spot on” and the red card was ultimately the turning point.

“I appreciate that. It’s hard when you’re living every moment and you’re trying to stay ahead of the game tactically,” O’Gara replied.

“There were a few moments we could have gone 15-9, that plus three would have been a big boost with 14. There were a lot of other little things

“Damn right I’m proud of them. Of course I am. We’ve come a long way but there’s no point being second best.

“I think what we’ve worked on is the people, the player bit will come afterwards. You could see character. It would have been easy to fold but we were the boys chomping at the bit at the end.”

Ronan O’Gara interview – last play of the game.

The former Crusaders assistant coach did bring up the last play of the game, where La Rochelle could have been given a penalty.

“I can’t wait to see the Ntamack against three at the end,” O’Gara added.

“It’s still an action part of the game, if he’s holding the ball on the ground it’s a penalty maybe you can kick to the touch and normally you score from that.

“It’s not sour grapes it’s just we weren’t accurate enough in the first 40, take my medicine but with the dark clouds, there was a lot of promise.”

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