Ronan O’Gara attacked by Argentina international in touchline fight
La Rochelle head coach Ronan O’Gara seems to get in infinitely more fights as a coach than he ever did as a player.
The former Ireland fly-half has been disciplined and reprimanded on a number of occasions during his time on the west coast of France, but Saturday’s altercation with Clermont Auvergne fly-half Benjamín Urdapilleta might have been his worst incident yet.
To be fair to O’Gara, he did not do much wrong on this occasion, as the 37-year-old ex Argentina international took exception to the coach standing on the touchline and interfering with his attempt to catch a kick to touch. The ball hit O’Gara meaning a quick lineout could not be taken, and Urdapilleta clearly got riled by that that, pushing the Irishman twice. Credit must go to O’Gara though as he did not retaliate.
This was a crucial period of the match, as La Rochelle were leading by two points with 25 minutes remaining at the Stade Marcel Michelin. Urdapilleta had the last laugh though, as his penalty secured the win for his side, condemning the Champions Cup winners to a second loss in their opening three matches.
Take a look at the fight:
💥Il n’y a pas que l’#UFC en ce moment !
— Le Top14 Pas Officiel (@Top14PasOff) September 2, 2023
It is actually Clermont coach Christophe Urios that O’Gara has history with, having butted heads with him plenty of times when he was Bordeaux Begles coach. This actually resulted one time in Urios slapping O’Gara on the touchline after his exuberant celebrations. So this is not exactly new territory for O’Gara.
As a player O’Gara was not particularly confrontational, which begs the question: what will his Ireland successor Johnny Sexton be like as a coach? Sexton is far more confrontational as a player than O’Gara ever was, meaning he could be 1000 times worse than his countryman if he ever decides to become a coach.