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La Rochelle coach Ronan O'Gara shoved by Clermont player

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Sunday Sep 3, 2023

Arguably, Rugby’s premier club competition, the French Top 14, has become a premier destination for both players and coaches over the past decade.

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Built on a strong foundation of local rivalries, the Rugby club is at the heartbeat of the communities involved. It is fair to say that the Top 14 is the closest competition that Rugby has to football’s Premier League.

Stacked to the gills with world-class players and coaches, the stakes are high throughout the league’s marathon-like schedule.

Heading into this season’s round three action, thirteen of the fourteen sides had logged a victory in the opening two rounds.

Thus, with a break for the upcoming Rugby World Cup factored into the schedule, teams were jostling for top positions ahead of the league’s return on October 29th.

With so much on the line, no fixture summed up the intense nature of competition more than last season’s losing finalists La Rochelle’s clash with traditional powerhouse Clermont.

Clermont would edge the fixture 11 – 10 at home in what was a fiery clash.

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Noted for his intensity, La Rochelle boss Ronan O’Gara (ROG) has caught the ire of the Top 14 judiciary over the past few seasons, serving two bans for his interactions with other coaches and match officials.

Yet, it would be O’Gara who would be on the receiving end of the abuse last night as Clermont’s Argentinean international Benjamin Urdapiletta launched a bizarre attack on the former Irish international.

Seemingly looking to catch the ball, Urdapiletta clearly felt ROG was obstructing his path to a quick line-out.

From here, things got ugly as Urdapiletta shoved the coach not once but twice in what appeared to be an unnecessary altercation.

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Based on the available images, O’Gara appears to try and avoid the ball coming his way, only to find himself in the Argentine’s path.

It will now be interesting to see if anything will come from the incident, as clearly, players and coaches having physical altercations is not a good look.

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