Ronan O’Gara has made such a huge impact in the world of rugby that it comes as no surprise he has long been hailed a legend by the sport’s supporters.
Holding the record of being the all-time top scorer in both the Heineken Cup and for Ireland, as well as being Ireland’s second most-capped player is among his many remarkable accomplishments.
Most recently O’Gara made history as the head coach of La Rochelle leading “les maritimes” to win the European Rugby Champions Cup in May 2022 for the first time in the club’s career. This made him the first person ever to win the Heineken Champions Cup as a player and head coach, for two different teams.
Ronan O’Gara began his 16-year professional career as a fly-half in 1997, playing for 16 seasons with Munster, with whom he won two Heineken Cups.
128 caps for Ireland, three Triple Crowns and the Grand Slam in 2009 later, he also played on three British and Irish Lions tours, winning two caps.
As one of the most influential figures for both Munster and Ireland, Ronan O’Gara left a legacy to Irish Rugby when leaving Ireland for France in 2013.
He first began his coaching career as Racing 92’s defence coach before moving to New Zealand in 2018, becoming the assistant defence coach of the Crusaders – who would go on to win two Super Rugby titles while Ronan was a member of their coaching team.
In 2019, Ronan O’Gara returned to France when he was announced as the new head coach of Stade Rochelais – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ronan O’Gara is now sharing is acquired and extensive knowledge on leadership as part of speaking engagements. As someone who recognises that a healthy and fit body can only get his players so far if they are not also taking care of their mental health, he leads his team not only with integrity but also compassion – which has proven to be a winning recipe.
O’Gara relies on honest communication and is candid about the things that went wrong as well as the successes in order for his team to grow as a unity as well as individually. When moving to France originally, O’Gara had very little French which made it difficult at first to get his message across but this obstacle in turn encouraged him to improve his conveyance when there was a language barrier and it also taught him about the importance of revising his approach for personal development.
Ronan O’Gara writes “When you get values and ambition aligning in the dressing room, you can move mountains. The old line resonates with me every day: On your own you’ll go faster, but together we’ll go further. There is a lot of depth to that sentence.” Which is a testament to the wisdom and sense of his insight into his teamwork mentality.
He understands that the strongest player on the team can’t bring success on their own but instead it is a squad that works together which becomes a great team and with that is able to generate levels of adaptability, internal courage, trust, and empathy
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