La Rochelle: Ronan O’Gara pens new five-year deal with European champions

La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara smiles during a press conference. Credit: Alamy
La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara smiles during a press conference. Credit: Alamy

Ronan O’Gara has penned a new five-year contract with European champions La Rochelle keeping him at the club until 2027.

The news effectively ends any speculation of O’Gara taking on the head coaching role for England which was vacated yesterday after Eddie Jones’ dismissal.

The Irishman has made impressive ground with the French side who defeated Leinster in the Champions Cup final to take home the glory last season.

Comfortable in La Rochelle

O’Gara and his family are happy on the French coast and are delighted with the “work-life balance” in his current role.

“My family and I feel very good here,” O’Gara told La Rochelle’s official website.

“Work-life balance is very important to me. Vincent (Merling), Pierre (Venayre) and Robert (Mohr) let me know that they wanted to continue this adventure with me and I am absolutely delighted. I love my group.

“Gradually, we are changing status and I am convinced that this is only the beginning. And then the supporters here are incredible.

“This passion that drives them, this support they have shown me. Yes, I have to say, it all made my decision easy. It’s a great responsibility but also a lot of pride to continue here.”

La Rochelle chairman Vincent Merling was pleased with O’Gara’s extension and anticipates more good to come under the Irishman’s tutelage.

“I am very happy and proud of Ronan’s extension, which is part of a sustainable performance objective,” he said. “Together, with our supporters, we have experienced great collective emotions and I am convinced that we will experience others in the coming seasons.”

Easy decision

Meanwhile, managing director Pierre Venayre claims the decision was simple for the club to offer an extension and underlines their ambition.

“Extending our collaboration with Ronan was obvious to us and a strong desire,” he said. “His commitment until 2027 confirms our prospects and our sporting ambitions.”

La Rochelle’s sporting director Robert Mohr also expressed his delight with keeping O’Gara at the helm ahead of their side’s Champions Cup opener against Northampton Saints this weekend.

“I am very happy with Ronan’s extension. We have found an organisation that allows everyone to exploit their skills and strengths for the benefit of Stade Rochelais.”

READ MORE: Champions Cup: Toulouse star Pita Akhi expects another tight clash against Munster

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