Ronan O’Gara has confirmed that he will take up the role of head coach with French side La Rochelle for the 2019/20 Top 14 season.
O’Gara and the Crusaders have a chance to win a third successive Super Rugby title this year and he has paid tribute to franchise’s staff and players, admitting it is not easy to depart.
“My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Christchurch and were welcomed into 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. 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,” he said.
Although he set for the exit door and is excited about his new move, he has not completely shut out the possibility of a return to the Christchurch-based club in the future.
“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,” he added.
Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson is delighted for his colleague and is grateful for everything he has help the franchise achieve since his arrival.
“Ronan quickly endeared himself to our playing group when he joined us last season and has established great relationships with our backs. He stepped into this environment and really challenged our thinking early on, providing the fresh perspective we were after in our coaching group. We’ve seen a huge amount of personal growth in Ronan during his time here, he continues to be a great friend to me and he’s been an integral part of our success to date. On behalf of the Crusaders team, we wish Ronan and his family all the very best on their return to France,” he said.
Meanwhile the side’s CEO Colin Mansbridge added to Robertson’s tribute to O’Gara and is looking forward to the last couple of months with the coach before he heads back to France.
“We’ve been fortunate to have someone of Ronan’s calibre join our organisation for the past two seasons, and he has certainly added to the legacy of our club during his time here, imparting his knowledge of the game and immense international experience on our playing group. We look forward to celebrating the rest of the season with him and, come the end of our 2019 campaign, wish Ronan, Jess and family all the very best for their next chapter,” he said.
O’Gara was previously the assistant coach of Racing 92 in France, but this will be his first job leading a club and adds to his ever-growing CV.
Munster Sign Aussie Forward on Short-Term Deal
Munster have confirmed the arrival of an Australian forward for the duration of the Rugby World Cup
The deal will see Holloway link-up with the province come the end of September for two-months as World Cup cover subject to receiving a work permit.
Holloway will bring some experience to the pack having racked up 52 Super Rugby appearances since his debut in 2013 and can play in either the second or back row.
That will please Munster fans as their side have lost the likes of CJ Stander, Peter O’Mahony, Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne as all have been included in Joe Schmidt’s Irish squad.
The province have also confirmed that the 26-year-old has been joined in pre-season training by Paddy Butler and Peter McCabe.
Both left their clubs in Pau and Connacht respectively and have not been handed contracts at this moment in time.
Munster host London Irish in a pre-season friendly this Friday in Cork as they look to build towards the new season, which they open up against the Dragons at Thomond Park on September 28th.
Highlanders Sign All Blacks Youngster
The Highlanders have confirmed their first signing for the 2020 Super Rugby season
The 20-year-old has signed a two-year contract with the franchise and is so far only one of two confirmed outside backs in the squad for next season along with Josh McKay.
He has been a part of the New Zealand U20 World Championship squad for the past two years and played a vital role in the nations Sevens team during the 2018/19 World Series.
Having debuted for in the Mitre 10 Cup in 2018 for Northland and has become known for his speed and will be a welcome addition to the Highlanders following the mass exodus of players at the end of last season.
Come the end of the season the franchise confirmed that a total of 12 players would be departing them including All Blacks Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Liam Squire, Luke Whitelock and Jackson Hemopo.
As well as them there is a huge loss of Super Rugby experience in Matt Faddes who is set to join Ulster for the 2019/20 season.
Most of the players are heading overseas in order to receive improved contracts in what is becoming an increasing problem for Southern Hemisphere nations.
The Highlanders finished the 2019 season with a quarter-final loss to eventual winners the Crusaders and with all the departures it is expected that Gregory will be the first of many new faces through the door.
Te’o Set to Leave England
Ben Te’o is currently unattached after leaving Worcester Warriors and it now seems as though he could be set for a departure from England
England centre Ben Te’o appears more likely than ever to leave the country following his omission from Eddie Jones’ squad.
It is believed that at 33-years-old, the New Zealand-native was hoping that the World Cup would be a final tournament for England. However, following his snubbing by Eddie Jones it looks as though his time with the national team could already be over.
With that in mind a move abroad would make sense and there is reported interest from clubs across the globe.
Reports are linking French sides Racing 92, Toulouse and Toulon with a move for the centre and there is apparent interest from Japanese Super Rugby outfit the Sunwolves who are in their final season in the competition.
Having failed to make Jones’ 33-man squad for their preparations for this weekend’s clash with Wales it would be no surprise if the 20-cap England international looked overseas. Although Eddie Jones has told players to stay ready for a call-up and Te’o could be brought in again for one final appearance but it’s unlikely that would change his mind on leaving.
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