The Ulster Rugby Show: Humphreys praises O’Gara’s “tactical masterclass” in La Rochelle’s victory over Leinster

Ronan O'Gara and David Humphreys celebrate Ireland's win over Wales in the 2002 Six Nations
Ronan O'Gara, David Humphreys and David Humphreys celebrate Ireland's victory over Wales at the 2002 Six Nations

David Humphreys believes Ronan O'Gara, a former Ireland teammate, has a bright future as a coach after leading La Rochelle to Champions Cup glory.

After La Rochelle's thrilling final last weekend, O'Gara was viewed as a potential future coach for France or Ireland.

Humphreys stated that “Leinster is probably the most successful club rugby team I have ever seen so it was a tactical masterclass.”

“It's another incredible achievement on a personal scale for him.”

Humphreys, a former Ulster star, and O'Gara were once rivals for the Ireland flyhalf spot. Both of them moved into coaching.

Humphreys served as director of rugby at Gloucester from 2006 to 2020, while Munster legend O'Gara began his coaching career in France with Racing 92 before moving to New Zealand with Crusaders.

Promotion to the top job

The 45-year old joined La Rochelle in 2019 as head coach, before taking over from Jono Gibbs last year as director of rugby.

La Rochelle was defeated by Toulouse in the Champions Cup final last year, but won the competition with a 24-21 win over the Irish favorites to win it for first time.

Ronan O'Gara celebrates winning the Champions Cup with La Rochelle back Arthur Retiere
Ronan O'Gara celebrates the Champions Cup win with La Rochelle back Arthur Retiere

Humphreys stated that “to get to the top, or be the best possible you must experience other clubs, different cultures, and different environments.” Humphreys spoke to The Ulster Rugby Show.

“Look at his accomplishments, the teams he was part of, and all the success he's enjoyed. This has given him a solid foundation for his future.

“The most successful coaches have worked up. Your best coaches should have those experiences if you are at the top in the IRFU.

“Knowing him well and his knowledge of game, it was not the tactical element that was lacking. It was probably more about managing the big egos.

“But he has learned something at every stage and that is why he's learning how to deal with the pressure.”

David Humphreys can be viewed on The Ulster Rugby Show at 22:00 BST on Thursday on BBC2 NI. You can also watch the interview on BBC iPlayer.

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