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'Win four games and you are Champions' | ROG European rugby preview

Ronan O'Gara joined Wednesday Night Rugby on Off the Ball where he considered the varying challen...

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

21:47 31 Mar 2021



Ronan O'Gara joined Wednesday Night Rugby on Off the Ball where he considered the varying challenges facing Leinster and Munster and La Rochelle over the weekend.

Leinster will be up against Toulon while Munster welcome Toulouse to  Thomond Park

"I think they are two very different games," said O'Gara of a pair of sides he is familiar with as La Rochelle head coach in the Top 14.

The former Munster man was full of praise for his former provincial rivals.

"Leinster in the RDS with the team they have and the standards they have, it is the one game people do not want to play, it's Leinster.

"They are a great side and they have been for a long time. They have consistently proven when teams put it up to them, they find a solution to win games, with the exception probably of Saracens a few years ago.

"They are a great side, I think they will probably be too smart for Toulon. Too disciplined and together for a period of time so they have massive trust in each other."

Munster demoralised

The former Munsterman reckons the men in red will have a much stiffer task than Leinster

"The game in Thomond park is very different," according to O'Gara.

"Especially after Toulouse lost at home to Montpellier, good teams rarely lose two games in a row.

"Toulouse are a good side, you could say the same about Munster but the fear factor about going to Thomond Park and about Munster isn't what it was a number of years ago. It is a difficult game to call.

"Saturday's loss was hugely demoralising and confidence will probably be dented. They will be looking for a response."

La Rochelle play Gloucester on Friday night and sit second in the Top 14, O'Gara says his side is ready to fight on two trophy fronts.

"There isn't much history in Stade Rochelais of the Champions Cup, they have played a quarter-final of the Challenge Cup, very different competitions as we know.

"This is where we want to be, we are very excited about it, what would you call it, a one-eighth of a final? 'Huitieme finale' I have been saying all week.

"It is kill or be killed on Friday night, so that is very exciting. Can we fight on two fronts? Yes, we can, most definitely and we have every intention of doing that.

"There is massive prestige in the Bouclier and the prestige of winning the Top 14 but I think if you ask any managers or coaches about this weekend and what is ahead.

"It is just such a souped-up Champions Cup, everyone is going to be going gung-ho for it. That's the reality, you have a great chance with the format.

"You win four games and you are champions," O'Gara said.

Listen to LIVE commentary of Munster v Toulouse this Saturday on Off the Ball, with Neil Treacy joined by Keith Wood at Thomond Park at 3pm.

We'll also have full match commentary of Leinster v Toulon this Friday evening, LIVE from 5.20pm in the company of Neil and Johne Murphy.

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European Champions Cup La Rochelle Leinster Munster Ronan O'Gara Wednesday Night Rugby

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