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Ronan O'Gara slapped with heavy ban at Top 14 disciplinary hearing

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Xavier Leoty/AFP via Getty Images

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Heineken Champions Cup-winning coach Ronan O’Gara has been banned from the touchline for six weeks by officials in France following his latest brush with Top 14 officialdom as director of rugby at La Rochelle. The Irishman, whose team are currently leading the way in first place in the top flight following three successive wins, faced the charge of disrespecting a match official following the September 10 win at Lyon.

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O’Gara’s numerous previous run-ins with the French disciplinary process were a factor at the 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.

A Top 14 statement read: “Ronan O’Gara was found responsible for ‘action against match official’ and more particularly of ‘disrespecting the authority of a match official’. It was the higher degree of the scale of gravity which was retained, that is to say a suspension of six weeks.

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“After taking into account the aggravating circumstance (his disciplinary record), the penalty was increased by two weeks. After taking into account the mitigating circumstances (his acknowledgement of guilt and conduct before and during the hearing), the sanction was reduced by two weeks.

“Mr O’Gara is suspended for six weeks and will be requalified on October 31, 2022. Under article 65 of the LNR’s general regulations, Stade Rochelais was sanctioned with €10,000 fine. This sanction has the effect of revoking the fine of €5,000 accompanied by the suspended sentence pronounced by the commission on April 6, 2022, against Stade Rochelais.”

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The ban means that O’Gara will not be on the touchline for his team’s next six matches, starting with this Sunday’s La Rochelle trip to Clermont and ending with the late October home game versus Pau. He is due to co-coach the Barbarians along with Crusaders boss Scott Robertson in London against an All Blacks XV in November.

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