Shane Horgan has praised Ronan O’Gara as one of the world’s most in-demand coaches after La Rochelle’s Heineken Champions Cup triumph.
La Rochelle defied the odds to beat Leinster at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, as a last-gasp try from replacement scrum-half Arthur Retiere secured a first-ever European title for the French club.
Leinster were the strong favourites off the back of their impressive wins against Toulouse and Leicester Tigers, although after a slow start, La Rochelle dominated for large periods of the game and ultimately outscored the Irish province by three tries to none.
Former Leinster winger Shane Horgan was speaking on Virgin Media after the game and stressed director of rugby Ronan O’Gara’s role in La Rochelle’s victory.
Shane Horgan praises Ronan O’Gara.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong. He is in the leading lights of world coaches. He must be one of the most in-demand coaches in the world,” Horgan said.
“He could pick any job he wants but he doesn’t need to go anywhere for the moment, he’s the European champion. He brought probably an unfancied team as second in command last year to a final.
“They’ve competed against a team in Leinster that have been phenomenal this year all throughout the championship and were a massive favourite, and he’s delivered a tactical performance.
“Let’s not wash away from that, the tactical level. Yes it was a massive physical performance from his players but the way they played, the way they attacked, the philosophy of play has Ronan O’Gara’s fingerprints all over it.”
“He could have the pick of any job he wants. But he doesn’t need to go anywhere at the moment, he’s the European champion!”
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) May 28, 2022
The Munster man’s coaching career so far.
O’Gara has achieved plenty already in less than 10 years as a rugby coach and has travelled far and wide in his efforts to learn.
The former Munster out-half opted against staying with his native province in order to join Racing 92 in France after his playing career came to an end in 2013 and spent four years with the club as an assistant coach.
O’Gara then joined the Crusaders in New Zealand as an assistant coach and helped guide the team to Super Rugby titles in both years he spent in Christchurch.
He then joined La Rochelle in 2019 as the club’s head coach under director of rugby Jono Gibbes and assumed the role of director of rugby himself at the start of the season following the New Zealander’s departure.
La Rochelle’s Heineken Champions Cup triumph is undoubtedly the highlight of O’Gara’s coaching career so far and the club remain in the hunt for this year’s Top 14 title also.