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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 26 June, 2019
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Ronan O'Gara returning to Top 14 as head coach with La Rochelle

The Corkman will leave Christchurch this summer to replace Xavier Garbajosa in Jono Gibbes’ backroom team.

O'Gara in Crusaders gear this season.
O'Gara in Crusaders gear this season.
Image: John Davidson/INPHO

MUNSTER AND IRELAND legend Ronan O’Gara will return to France as head coach of La Rochelle, the club confirmed today.

The Corkman left a Top 14 post with Racing 92 in 2017 to join Scott Robertson’s backroom team at the Crusaders and will be targeting a second title before leaving Christchurch after the current Super Rugby season ends on 6 July.

The Irish Examiner, who O’Gara writes a regular column for, this morning reported that the former out-half will work alongside director of rugby Jono Gibbes when Les Maritimes return for pre-season training in the last week of July.

“My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Christchurch and were welcomed in to the Crusaders family with open arms when we arrived in early 2018. This is one of the best rugby clubs in the world, and it certainly wasn’t an easy decision to move on from this team and their high-performance environment,” O’Gara said in a statement.

“I’m grateful to the Crusaders for the faith they’ve shown in me as a coach, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have worked alongside a world-class playing and management group for the last two seasons.

While I see this move to La Rochelle as the next step in my coaching career and an exciting opportunity for my young family, I’d like to think, long-term, this is not necessarily the end of my time with the Crusaders.

“My focus now is helping to deliver a successful 2019 campaign with the side before my family and I return to France at the end of the season.”

Former Ulster head coach and Leinster forwards coach Gibbes will hope to build on his side’s Challenge Cup run and a Top14 campaign which ended in semi-final defeat to Toulouse on Saturday.

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Sean Farrell

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