There was a huge game for Ronan O'Gara's La Rochelle side in the Top 14 tonight, as they travelled two hours south into the Medoc to take on Bordeaux Begles.
Bordeaux currently sit second in the league, while La Rochelle - on the back of a season that saw them finish second in both the Champions Cup and France's domestic league - headed into tonight's game in fifth, just behind Toulouse.
Tensions were high in the game, and just before the referee blew for halftime, O'Gara found himself in the middle of a touchline altercation with head coach of Bordeaux, Christophe Urios.
Ronan O'Gara gets familiar with Christophe Urios
— Ottavio Arenella (@OttavioArenella) April 2, 2022
The Canal+ cameras had a perfect vantage point of the incident: O'Gara celebrates passionately, Urias takes offense, words are exchanged - presumably in French! - and it gets pretty heated.
French rugby website RMC claimed Urios attempted to 'slap' O'Gara, which the Corkman 'skilfully dodged'.
Urios is a former hooker and clearly didn't appreciate O'Gara's reaction here.
Here's how L'Equipe's liveblog of the match explained the incident:
"The tension is enormous on the pitch and on the sidelines where Urios and O'Gara are arguing. The tension is palpable in this Atlantic but not peaceful derby: Clashes on and off the field have punctuated these 40 minutes."
La Rochelle managed to win the match 16-15 after Kiwi Ihaia West kicked an 81st minute penalty.
— Stade Rochelais (@staderochelais) April 2, 2022
We are awaiting post-match imagery but we can only imagine that O'Gara enjoyed this one.
Amazingly the two clubs will be meet again over the next two weekends as they've been drawn together in the Champions Cup.
La Rochelle have stepped it up a gear after being Racing last week 19-0. After that result, O'Gara's former Munster teammate and current forwards coach Donnacha Ryan said:
“Our [returning] internationals brought their energy to the group. We were very good at the lineout, very good in the scrum, and our defence performed well. Every time they threatened in our 22, we handled the pressure very well