Ronan O’Gara will join La Rochelle as head coach next season after the French club confirmed his appointment today.
The former Ireland out-half who is currently working in New Zealand with the Crusaders, where he had the option of extending his stay for a third year, will return to France following his time with Racing 92.
O’Gara will work under Jono Gibbes, who has moved to a director of rugby role.
The move will see O’Gara become a head coach for the first time as he further enhances his rapidly growing reputation.
Munster had sounded out the Cork man’s interest in returning as the province’s backs/attack coach but that never materialised as their former talisman favoured a head coach role.
The Munster and Ireland legend previously spent four-and-a-half seasons in the Racing 92 set-up, starting out as kicking coaching before progressing to take over the defence. He subsequently broadened his experience with Scott Robertson’s Crusaders team, overseeing the attack.
La Rochelle reached the semi-finals of the Top 14 and the final of the European Challenge Cup this season.
“Ronan O’Gara joins the staff as head coach. He knows the Top 14 well, he has experience. He will bring a high level of skill,” La Rochelle Director of Rugby Jono Gibbes said.