Ronan O’Gara set to extend La Rochelle stay despite England links - reports

French media reporting that Irish coach will renew his contract until 2027

Ronan O’Gara is set to extend his contract at La Rochelle despite interest from the RFU, according to reports in France.

O’Gara recently confirmed that he was on a three-man shortlist to replace Eddie Jones as England head coach after next year’s World Cup. Leicester boss Steve Borthwick and O’Gara’s former colleague at the Crusaders Scott Robertson were the other two reported to be in contention for the job.

However, Midi-Olympique and Rugbyrama have since reported that the Cork native is set to sign a three-year contract extension that will keep him at La Rochelle until 2027. His current deal expires in 2024.

When asked last week about the prospect of coaching on the international stage, O’Gara acknowledged the temptation of testing himself at that level while also appreciating the political side of opting to coach England as an Irishman.

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“To test me, to test your players, at the highest possible level under extreme pressure. That stimulates me, that awakens me and that inspires me,” he said.

“Yeah it’s a huge decision to even contemplate because there’s a lot to it. Obviously, considering I played for Ireland for a long period of time, it’s not something you’d ever contemplate as a player.

“It’s one thing contemplating it but actually putting that into reality is something that I genuinely haven’t given the necessary depth of thought because it’s a huge decision.”

The extension would be a major boost to La Rochelle where O’Gara has rapidly become a popular figure. Since joining the club in 2019, he has guided them to two Champions Cup finals in as many years, including a first European crown after a last-gasp win over Leinster in 2022.

O’Gara has been head coach at the State Marcel-Deflandre since 2019, and in 2021 added director of rugby to his job title when Jono Gibbes left La Rochelle for Clermont.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist