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O'Gara's La Rochelle pick up Samoan hooker on short-term deal

By Ian Cameron

Trending on RugbyPass

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Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle have signed former London Irish hooker Motu Matu’u on a short-term deal.

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The Samoan international was released by London Irish at the end of last season and will join the Black and Yellows as a replacement for Argentinian hooker Facundo Bosch, who is set to feature for the Pumas during the Rugby Championship.

Standing at 6’1 and tipping the scales at 17 stone, the 34-year-old made 46 appearances for Gloucester including an outing in their 2018 European Rugby Challenge Cup final against Cardiff Blues in Bilbao.

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Bringing 22 Samoa caps to the table, the dynamic No.2 burst onto the scene in 2011 with Super Rugby side the Hurricanes where he played 45 times between 2011 and 2016. Competing with experienced All Black Dane Coles for a starting berth, Matu’u crossed the whitewash on three occasions for the New Zealand-based franchise, earning himself a seat on the plane to the 2015 Rugby World Cup with Samoa.

Matu’u is not the only new addition. There’s been plenty of change at La Rochelle behind the scenes since they lost the Heineken Champions Cup final against Toulouse earlier this year.

O’Gara has taken over the reins as head coach and chosen fellow Munster man Donnacha Ryan to join him as forwards coach.

The former second row who won 47 Ireland caps prior to joining Racing 92 in 2017 retired from playing earlier this year and has jumped straight into high-level coaching. He will coach the forwards alongside Romain Carmignani, while Sébastien Boboul takes over the backs division.

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They will also be able to rely on the expertise of former Springbok prop Guthro Steenkamp, who takes over as scrum coach.

With 53 caps to his name, the former Springbok won a Rugby World Cup in 2007 and won two Brennus Shields while at Toulouse before hanging up his boots.

Overseeing all this will be Director of Rugby, Robert Mohr, who will be in charge of recruitment.

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TOP 14    

O'Gara's La Rochelle pick up Samoan hooker on short-term deal

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