Ronan O’Gara admits La Rochelle’s season is ‘in the bin’ after Top 14 final loss

Ronan O'Gara Top 14

Ronan O’Gara has said that Toulouse were ’10 times better’ than his La Rochelle side in Friday night’s Top 14 final.

La Rochelle were comfortably beaten 18-8 by Toulouse at the Stade de France in the Top 14 decider, a month after O’Gara’s side were beaten by the same side in the Heineken Champions Cup final at Twickenham.

O’Gara was speaking to the Irish Examiner after the game and made no excuses for La Rochelle’s second final loss in as many months.

Ronan O’Gara’s comments after La Rochelle’s Top 14 final loss.

“Toulouse were 10 times better than us. It’s disappointing but easy to accept because the result was predictable,” O’Gara said.

“We weren’t precise, we never got into the game, we gifted Toulouse too much and against a team like that, it’s too difficult.

“To play like that in the final is a big disappointment. I think of the fans who travelled to watch that …That’s not us, that wasn’t a reflection of everything we’ve done this season. At this level, sport is unforgiving.

“I have to congratulate Toulouse. We weren’t caught up in the emotion but you can’t win a final if your leaders aren’t performing well. You play 26, 27 good matches and now everything is in the bin. That’s the truth.”

Toulouse down La Rochelle to do the double.

Toulouse were significantly better than La Rochelle in the opening exchanges, and by half time the reigning European champions were 12 points clear of O’Gara’s side.

La Rochelle were unable to turn the tide in the early stages of the second half as two penalties from Thomas Ramos cancelled out Ihaia West’s three-pointer to stretch Toulouse’s lead to 15.

Dany Priso scored a try for La Rochelle with three minutes remaining to reduce the deficit to 10, but at that stage it was far too late for them to stage a comeback.

La Rochelle can be proud of their season, having made the final of the Champions Cup and the Top 14 for the first time ever, but there’s no doubt that everyone involved with the club will be bitterly disappointed with how their season ended.

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