Racing head coach Laurent Labit has admitted that Ronan O'Gara is not looking forward to facing the club that made him in the opening round of the European Champions Cup this season.
O'Gara spent 16 years at Munster, scoring a record 2,625 points, but this month he plots their downfall at Yves du Manoir, and Labit says the Cork man is far from comfortable despite being a "perfect spy."
"It’s very tough to start the competition with Munster," Labit said.
We have been watching them since the start of the season but we also have the best spy possible with Ronan O’Gara to know how they function.
Even if the staff has changed, we will have a lot of very useful indications, but Ronan won’t be on the pitch and only the players will have their say.
It’s funny because he’s got mixed feeling about meeting Munster. It’s his club of heart, of love. He feels like betraying them.
Of course, he wants Racing to win but, strangely, he’s not happy facing them [Munster], even if he’ll be thrilled to be back at Thomond Park.
Of course, Irish fans will know it's really not that strange; O'Gara and Munster's relationship transcended mere employment, and the 39-year-old propelled the club to unprecedented success in the '00s, picking up two Heineken Cups along the way.
Racing hooker Dimitri Szarzewski lined out against ROG the last time the Parisien club faced Munster in Europe, and the Frenchman has no doubts as to where his coach's allegiances lie ahead of their upcoming clash on October 16th:
His only priority will be to help Racing win. I can guarantee he will prepare this game as well as he can.
I hope he will give us lots of information.
He knows how the club prepares for this competition, he is a-two-time European champion with them and he knows how we will have to prepare mentally for this game.
He’s Irish, he experienced a lot of very nice things with Munster. He’s closely tied to his club but he will not let a thing pass.
The return fixture in Thomond next year promises to be an emotional occasion for the Munster legend, but his job later this month is to help put a dent in their European campaign before they really get started. It's hardly surprising that he's experiencing mixed emotions.
Racing v Munster kicks off at 4:15pm on October 16th.