The Ronan O’Gara Interviews That Everyone Is Talking About Following Heartbreaking Defeat
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Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle fell at the last hurdle yesterday afternoon as Toulouse were crowned European champions for a record-breaking fifth time.
La Rochelle were down to 14-men after just 27 minutes but did extremely well to stay in the game and even led 12-9 at the break.
But 15-man Toulouse were too much for O’Gara’s side in the end with the boot of Ihia West ultimately letting them down in a 22-17 defeat.
O’Gara spoke incredibly well after the game, taking some of the blame for Botia’s red card, putting aside some of the contentious decisions on the day, and simply stating that his side simply weren’t accurate enough.
“It’s tough, but my gut reaction says I don’t think we were very accurate or very disciplined. We made it tight at the end and we got some contentious decisions, but we’ve got to park that,” O’Gara said.
“We weren’t good enough on the day. I thought we were a bit hesitant in the first 40, and we missed a few kicks at goal. We didn’t take our opportunities and they were hanging on. Even though you’d admire what we did with 14 men.
“You know, I’d ask myself about Botia – the poor guy that got sent off – he hadn’t trained [before] and his timing was off a little bit [on that tackle]. It plays on my mind a little bit. Big time.”
“That red does change the game and we just kept them to one try, but we weren’t accurate enough with the ball. We needed to be better. That’s a little easier if you’ve got drier conditions but it’s a bit of a learning curve. We were all-in today, it was all about winning. When you look back at that five-point difference, 14 against 15 players, it’s disappointing.”
O’Gara added that the Ntamack incident at the end where he was surrounded by three men and looked to be isolated could have been a penalty and concluded that he’s proud of his players – but they should not be satisfied with second best.
“We were the boys champing on the bit, at the end. I can’t wait to see the Ntamack against three. It’s still an action part of the game. If he’s holding on, on the ground, it’s a penalty,” O’Gara added.
“You can kick to the touch and normally you can score from that. It’s not sour grapes. We just weren’t accurate enough in the first 40.”
“It’s not as if we didn’t threaten.”
“Damn right I’m proud of them – of course, I am – because we’ve come a long way, but there’s no point in being second best.”
"Damn right I'm proud of them. We've come a long way.
"What we've worked on is the people, the player bit comes afterwards.
"It's just a bit sad now."
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) May 22, 2021
The former Munster and Ireland player gave a similarly brilliant interview to BT Sport, once again refusing to make any excuses for the defeat.
“We have no complaints on that, we just wanted to be a little bit better with the ball.” he said
“We were at the end but we weren’t consistent for the 80 minutes…
“It was all about Europe, it’s a special competition. We were so enjoying this journey, it comes to an end with a silver medal or a loser’s medal depending what attitude you have…
“Losers make excuses. We need to be better and we weren’t good enough, so congratulations to Toulouse.”
"Losers make excuses. We needed to be better and we weren't good enough."
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) May 22, 2021