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Sunday May 21, 2023

O'Gara gives honest response on Ireland job in passionate interview

Ronan O’Gara has been the talk of the rugby world since his La Rochelle side beat Leinster in thrilling fashion at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. ROG, as he’s affectionately known, arrived at the stadium already a legend having captivated thousands of devoted fans during his time playing for Ireland.

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Nowadays the Cork man dons the coaching cap of a French club side that has successfully achieved what only a handful of other sides have ever done – won back-to-back European Champions Cups. His exploits have driven his status into the stratosphere, matched only by his exploits on the pitch. Following his heartwarming lap of the pitch with his mother by his side, he was lapped up by the media in a desperate effort to get his thoughts on the match.

BT Sport were able to speak to the head coach straight after the game. O’Gara, being very familiar with the Leinster side, knew that they would have an ace up their sleeve:

Speaking to the BBC, despite being Ireland’s most capped player and the highest-ever points scorer, O’Gara claimed that Saturday’s victory ranks as his best memory from Lansdowne Road.

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Following on from those comments he was asked about his intentions on coaching Ireland, O’Gara told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast: “Yes, of course, I want to coach Ireland as well but you have got to earn that right.”

Speaking about the match, O’Gara added:

“I’m just proud of the character of the team, 17-0 down and away from home, they could have easily found a way to find an excuse but these boys have character and character is important in sport.

“We love it. We care a lot for each other. We don’t talk about that but we act and there is no bigger proof in the pudding than back-to-back (Champions Cup wins).

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“We are probably beginning to be seen as a special team and I think the boys deserve to be there.”

“Sport is ruthless. I must admit that as a head coach or leader of this group, you feel for Leinster’s management and the players, it is horrible. One bus goes happy and the other bus is devastated.”

Having just defeated Leinster at the home of Irish rugby, O’Gara had the following to say about his roots: “I know where I come from, the boys know where I come from. I am very proud to come from Cork, it means a lot to me, a lot of great sportspeople have come out of Cork and they inspire me.

“You mix that with the best of French, South African, New Zealand, Australian, Samoan – we have players from all around the world who I would like to think are made to feel at home.

“It’s a brilliant feeling. We back our environment, we have fun. Rugby is meant to be enjoyed and I think you saw it was a group of 23 that didn’t down tools and that means a lot to me.”

Following the match there were reports of a scuffle in the tunnel during halftime involving O’Gara and Sexton and others which has led to the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) releasing a statement: “EPCR is aware of reports of an incident at half-time during the Heineken Champions Cup final at the Aviva Stadium, and the tournament organiser will be investigating this as soon as practicable. We have no further comment at this time.”

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