Rugby

Was This The Moment That Convinced Racing 92's Coaches To Recruit ROG?

Was This The Moment That Convinced Racing 92's Coaches To Recruit ROG?

It came as a surprise to many when Ronan O'Gara followed Johnny Sexton south to Paris back in 2013. After weeks of speculation, and despite Munster's offer of a one-year extension to his deal, ROG took to his inaugural Irish Examiner column to simultaneously announce both his retirement and his new role as assistant coach at Racing 92.

The French, however, were likely less shocked.

Less than two years prior, in November 2011, O'Gara's Munster rolled into Toulouse to face Castres in Week 2 of the Heineken Cup - just a week after 'Radge' stole Northampton's soul with that iconic, 84th minute, 45-metre drop goal after what Michael Corcoran described live on RTÉ Radio as "about 145 phases" of balls-to-the-wall action at Thomond Park.

It was a case of déja vu for both the travelling Red Army and viewers at home who, as the clock ticked red versus Castres, once more witnessed the masterful 34-year-old drop a goal of mass destruction as the clock turned red, bailing a faltering Munster out of jail for the second week in succession.

O'Gara's unscrupulous composure and kick itself were indeed magnifique, but the commentary team on France 2 matched ROG's magisterial winner with some fitting shot-calling, unashamedly fawning over a true legend of the European game.

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Il va le faire! Il fait - c'est incroyable...

"He'll do it!.....He's done it! It's incredible!" roars the lead commentator, as the ball sails through the upright.

O'Gara's heroics versus Northampton the week prior are then briefly mentioned, before the commentator declares:

Le dieu! Parce que, a l'irlande, c'est un dieu!

"The God! Because in Ireland, he is a god!"

But the chief comm's plaudits pale in comparison to those of the astonished man sat beside him - a man who it would seem was a mere couple of tethers removed from ripping off his microphone and exiting the stadium such was the overwhelming nature of yet another O'Gara masterclass.

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Oh la la - le champion!
Oh, quelle champion!....Quelle champion!

Of course, this loosely translates into Munster speak as, "Aw, unreal, the legend! What a legend!....What a legend!"

As it transpired, less than two years after sinking Castres, ROG was plying his trade as a trusted confidant to Racing 92 duo Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers in the French capital.

Intriguingly in retrospect, it was Labit and Travers who fell foul of O'Gara's boot when he bissected the posts against the pair's Castres side in 2011.

On such moments do careers hang, and indeed veer off in various directions. ROG's sheer bottle evidently left quite the profound mark on his employers during that autumnal evening in the south of France. The pair have since combined with O'Gara to coach Racing to their first Frech championship in 26 years.

SEE ALSO: Proposal Put Forward For Two Super Rugby Teams To Join The PRO12

Gavan Casey
Article written by
Former handwriting champion. Was violently bitten by a pelican at Fota Wildlife Park in 2001.

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