O’Gara signs new three-year deal to stay with La Rochelle until 2024

RONAN O’GARA HAS signed a new three-year contract with Top 14 club La Rochelle through to 2024.

With director of rugby Jono Gibbes leaving La Rochelle for Clermont at the end of the current season, head coach O’Gara will be in sole charge from this summer onwards.

The former Munster and Ireland out-half has helped La Rochelle to make great strides of progress since joining in 2019, with the French club currently preparing for a Champions Cup semi-final clash with Leinster in two weekends’ time.

While many Irish rugby supporters would have loved to see O’Gara make a move home, he has decided to stay put in France.

“I am extremely proud of the trust that Stade Rochelais continues to show me by appointing me as the head of the team,” said O’Gara.

“I am obviously very excited about next season, but first, we have important challenges ahead of us and above all a good season to end in the best possible way.”

La Rochelle said they had agreed to allow Gibbes an early release from his contract as director of rugby in order for him to join Clermont, who have confirmed the addition of the former Leinster and Ulster man on a three-year deal as head coach.

44-year-old O’Gara will drive the La Rochelle project forward, having played a major role in their excellent season so far – one that also has them sitting second in the Top 14.

The Irishman’s role will be expanded next season to incorporate some of the non-coaching duties that Gibbes currently oversees, while he will continue to drive the on-field coaching.

O’Gara retired from playing in 2013 and moved into coaching as an assistant Racing 92 in France before a move to the Crusaders in 2017 in another assistant role. He joined La Rochelle in 2019 for his first head coaching role.

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