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O'Gara provides subtle dig at booing Leinster fans in perfect retort

By Josh Raisey
Ronan O'Gara, Head Coach of Stade Rochelais during the Investec Champions Cup match between Sale Sharks and Stade Rochelais at AJ Bell Stadium on January 21, 2024 in Salford, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

La Rochelle boss Ronan O’Gara is “not sensitive” about the frosty reception he received from Leinster fans in their Investec Champions Cup quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium.

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O’Gara was never a popular figure amongst the Leinster faithful during his playing days being a Munster legend, but that relationship has only deteriorated further in recent years with his success at La Rochelle, beating Leinster in the 2022 and 2023 Champions Cup finals.

To add further spice, the former Ireland fly-half has been involved in various off-field contretemps with Leinster, chiefly firing accusations their way about mistreatment after the final last year.

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With that in mind, O’Gara’s former Munster and Ireland teammate Alan Quinlan said on Off the Ball this week that the boos that rang out at the Aviva Stadium every time the La Rochelle coach appeared on the screen did not surprise him.

O’Gara himself joined the show on Friday, where he addressed the treatment he was given himself.

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The 47-year-old was not perturbed by the reaction at all, saying that it is what happens when playing at the “top level”. He did not miss the opportunity though to provide a retort, pointing out that he has inflicted an “enormous amount of hurt” on the Leinster players and fans in recent years.

“There wasn’t a couple of boos, there were resounding boos, but that’s the ultimate compliment,” he said.

“Let’s not get sensitive about this, this is what happens when you’re playing at the top level.

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“Coaching a French team against an Irish team, a team that we have created an enormous amount of hurt for in the last number of years, that’s the minimum.

“It’s ok, that’s what happens, I’m not sensitive about that.

“I have huge time for their players and their coaching group. I was in their dressing room afterwards, they’re a really good group.

“It’s just two into one doesn’t go, you’re trying to win, they’re trying to win, they were better than us this time.”

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