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Huge ban, fine for O'Gara after 'attack on best interests of rugby'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Title-winning La Rochelle coach Ronan O’Gara has been heavily sanctioned by officials in France following his latest Top 14 disciplinary hearing. The Irishman, who guided the French club to Heineken Champions Cup glory last May in Marseille, had been in disciplinary trouble before on a number of occasions but Ligue National de Rugby appear to have finally lost their patience and have now thrown the book at him.

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His latest case was even referred to the LNR president and FFR secretary general and having appeared at a hearing following his return to France after his week co-coaching the Barbarians versus the All Blacks XV in London, an LNR statement read: “Ronan O’Gara was sanctioned with a ten-week suspension as well as a fine of €20,000, of which €5,000 was accompanied by a suspended sentence on the grounds of an ‘attack on the best interests of rugby’…

“…and more particularly for ‘any breach by a person referred to in article 714, of honour or probity, any conduct violent or abusive or defamatory remarks by a person referred to in article 714 with regard to any failure to respect the duty of confidentiality, as well as any deliberate violation of the federal regulations or general regulations of the LNR or conduct likely to infringe to the image, reputation or interests of rugby or its bodies, any breach of ethics and sports ethics, any non-compliance with a decision pronounced by a disciplinary body of the LNR’.

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“Consequently, O’Gara will be requalified on January 30, 2023. Under article 65 of the LNR’s general regulations, La Rochelle were sanctioned with a fine of €20,000 including €5,000 suspended. These decisions are subject to appeal before the FFR appeals committee within seven days from the notification of the full reasoned decision.”

It was only two months ago when O’Gara was banned from the matchday touchline for six weeks after facing the charge of disrespecting a match official following the September 10 La Rochelle win at Lyon.

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O’Gara’s numerous previous run-ins with the French disciplinary process were a factor at that hearing as his case was given a six-week entry point when it came to punishment and the suspension was initially increased to eight due to his previous disciplinary record before being reduced back to six when mitigating factors were taken into account. His club were also fined €10,000.

It was while in London a fortnight ago that La Rochelle boss O’Gara reiterated his ambition to coach England once Eddie Jones finishes up in the position following the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. “Yeah, of course, I would be (interested),” he said. “It’s a huge job.

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“There’s probably a lot involved with it and you’d have to be very firm with what your criteria are and what your role is. When you strip it all back, essentially you want to be winning games, but you need a strong support network around you to be put in that position. I would be thorough in my approach, in terms of what country you’d like to coach. There are a handful that jump out straight away…”

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7 Comments
M
Michael Röbbins (academic and writer extraordinair 566 days ago

Haha, I want to see all that same energy from those with knives out and beaks bloodied re: Rassie. I know you Angleterre and Eriugena are in love with the prospect of pretty boy O’Gara, but let’s see that same vitriol… BS, let’s see an article from you on this, even though you probably wiped Ronan’s derrière while he coached down in kiwi land for a spell.

L
Left Winger 567 days ago

O'Gara's behaviour has clearly upset the generous French rugby authorities - which is disappointing since they gave him the chance to make a name for himself and enhance his prospects.
He may have unwittingly blotted a once promising copy book.
As for announcing his interest in coaching England?
Have to say, would have thought that would be a complete no-no for any self-respecting Irishman.
How wrong I was to imagine ROG had designs on the ultimate prize, to coach Ireland. That can no longer be an option, surely.

S
Shayne 567 days ago

Totally agree Tony, don't even go to tests now.

T
Tony 567 days ago

I don't what OGara did wrong apart from disagreement with official, because they talk in riddles with articles about what he did,but thing that stands out to me is that ref's are not accountable, not one ref consistant with another, it's got to the stage they influence the game instead of being a shadow in the game, the game is not about the ref however like it or not its about the ref now, and we wonder why less people watch rugby world wide.
Put it this way when I go to watch a game with friends I know we are more concerned who the ref is, than the player selection it shouldn't be this way unfortunately it is.
And coaches aren't allowed to disagree or comment on bad calls by the ref.

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