Less than a week after helping the Crusaders secure a third successive Super Rugby title, Irish rugby legend Ronan O’Gara has already set off for his next job. 

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The former British and Irish Lion has spent the past two seasons as backs coach under Scott Robertson in New Zealand and is now set to take over as head coach of Top 14 side La Rochelle. 

O’Gara shared a picture of his bags at the airport, thanking Robertson for the opportunity and describing his time with the Crusaders as an “adventure”. 

La Rochelle’s pre-season training started this week, but the 128-cap international will still have plenty of time to work with the team before the season starts. 

The long-time Munster fly-half has already built a wealth of experience in his relatively short coaching career, having also won a French league title with Racing 92 working in the backroom staff. 

He called the Crusaders set-up a “unique environment”, which is understandable as they have just secured an unprecedented 10th Super Rugby title. 

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O’Gara has not only been working under many people’s All Blacks head coach in waiting but with a side that is probably the best domestic team on the planet, although Saracens and Leinster come close. 

O’Gara was one of the finest tacticians the game has ever seen as a player, and he was always destined to have success as a coach given his rugby brain. These just seem like stepping stones before he one day returns to Thomond Park and eventually Ireland.

While it has surely been a great adventure with the Crusaders, a new challenge awaits as he is given the reins of a club for the very first time. 

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The La Rochelle faithful will hope that the winning mentality that courses through the Super Rugby champions will be brought to the west coast of France with the Irishman. 

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