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Brian O’Driscoll explains why he rates Ronan O’Gara as a coach

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Peter Muhly/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s now 10 years since the legendary Leinster midfielder Brian O’Driscoll and Ronan O’Gara last shared a dressing room as Ireland teammates. The then-Munster out-half, who went on three British and Irish Lions tours with O’Driscoll, earned his last Test cap in a 2013 Six Nations defeat away to Scotland.


He retired from playing some months later and quickly moved into coaching, a career that has taken him to France, New Zealand and now back to France again where he is currently director of rugby at La Rochelle.

It was 2014, a year after O’Gara hung up the boots, when O’Driscoll himself retired as a player but rather than go into coaching, he has stayed involved in the sport in a very different way… as a pundit.

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He will now feature on this Saturday’s BT Sport coverage from Dublin of the latest Heineken Champions Cup final featuring his old team Leinster versus O’Gara’s French club.

The pair’s relationship was forged as teammates playing in close proximity to one another, O’Driscoll running at outside centre in the No13 shirt with O’Gara stationed at out-half as the No10. What is their rapport now like as pundit/coach? “I don’t think it is any different,” O’Driscoll told RugbyPass.


“You pick and choose the moments to speak and yeah, I don’t know if there will be any contact this week considering it is my old team [Leinster]. But I can’t help but be very impressed with how he has gone about his business as a coach, going to La Rochelle, taking the job on his own last year and winning (the Champions Cup).

“Now it feels as though a huge air of confidence has come over him and over his team and it feels as though he is going to be there for the long haul from a coaching perspective and inevitably there will be international honours that will come his way and it will be interesting to see what he takes advantage of.”


La Rochelle pipped Leinster 24-21 with a late converted try in last year’s EPCR final and O’Gara’s team has since thrived as champions, winning its way into what will be its third European final in succession while also placing second in the Top 14 with one round of matches left.

“I have to say I have got huge respect for what he is doing and the way he is knitting his team together,” O’Driscoll continued. “They are vying on two fronts.

“It’s his third final in a row, albeit he was assistant coach the first time around. And the way he has pulled together the quality international players but also club men that are playing like international calibre players…

“Guys like (Pierre) Bougarit at hooker, (Romain) Sazy when he plays for them, all these guys are very workmanlike and an absolute nuisance. He [O’Gara] got the strategy right against Leinster last year.”

  • BT Sport is home of the Heineken Champions Cup. Watch this year’s final between Leinster and La Rochelle from 4pm, Saturday, May 20, live and exclusively on BT Sport 2. Visit


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