‘There has to be minimum three options’ – Ronan O’Gara talks coaching philosophy

Talking tactics on Off The Ball yesterday evening was former Munster outhalf Ronan O’Gara ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final between his La Rochelle side and Sale Sharks.

O’Gara is enjoying an excellent season in his coaching career. La Rochelle are sat second in the Top 14 and have now progressed to the latter stages of Europe following last Friday’s 27-16 defeat of Gloucester.

The 44 year-old was named as head coach of La Rochelle in 2019 after acquiring experience as an assistant coach at both Racing 92 and Crusaders.

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Chatting with Joe Molloy, O’Gara explained his ‘philosophy’ when it comes to coaching the French club’s attacking strategy.

“Your nine and ten are the two that can shape the game the easiest because for most of the decisions they are in control of the ball,” said the two-time Heineken Cup champion.

“Obviously the eyes outside them are most important for scanning opportunities as the communication channels start from out to in as opposed to in to out. You’ll have practiced certain plays during the week and hopefully they will work and you’ll have previewed the opposing team to defend like this or attack like this but there also has to be some adaptability in your plan in case a different picture is thrown at you.

“For the nines and tens the big thing in my coaching philosophy is that there has to be minimum three options and the good guys will pick one of the three options. I don’t really want them for certain having to pick a certain option because I think that becomes robotic and it doesn’t become sustainable and that’s where you lose excitement especially in an eleven month season in France. You can’t be intense for eleven months, it just doesn’t work like that and it’s a very different model.”

La Rochelle play Sale Sharks at 3pm this Saturday live on Virgin Media.

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