La Rochelle head coach and the European Cup’s all-time leading points scorer Ronan O’Gara has highlighted his international and European experiences for developing his identity as a coach. 

O’Gara’s playing career saw him represent his country on 128 occasions and lift two European Cup titles with Munster Rugby in 2006 and 2008.

After hanging up his boots, O’Gara has coached as an assistant at three-time Heineken Champions Cup finalists Racing 92 and Super Rugby outfit Crusaders before joining Top 14 side La Rochelle in 2019. 

O’Gara credited the connections he has made – both as a player and a coach – for building his coaching philosophy, and he insists his development as head coach is far from complete. 

I would have probably always been diligent and always been a bit of a note taker I think I plucked so many things off different coaches and the fact that we were lucky in Munster to have the vision of the club that attracted the best coaches from around the world,” said the 43-year-old. 

Going on three British and Irish Lions tours, engaging with a lot of other coaches that you meet. 

But also, you learn so much from players that you come across and I was lucky in my time at Racing 92 as well, getting to coach a lot of All Blacks greats and just seeing how they operate. 

Then going to the Crusaders, they probably have a very different view on coaching and on rugby and mixing that with the Northern Hemisphere flavour, it really crystallised a lot of philosophies that I have on the game.”