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02nd May 2023

HOUSE OF RUGBY: Leinster on collision course with ROG’s boys and URC quarter final preview

Patrick McCarry

Ronan O'Gara

“Then he went straight into the maul and scored. I was thinking, ‘Oh Joshie, are we playing games here?!’

Lindsay Peat and Greg O’Shea had their suspicions, on the latest House of Rugby, that Josh van der Flier and Leinster may have picked out a few Toulouse players for their lapses of discipline. One thing is for sure – Ronan O’Gara will have his La Rochelle men on high alert and be stressing the need to avoid cards in the Champions Cup final.

For the third season in succession, Leinster find La Rochelle, and Ronan O’Gara, in their way as they chase that fifth Champions Cup title, and star for the crest.

Almost as soon as La Rochelle had accounted for Exeter Chiefs in their semi-final, O’Gara was telling BT Sport how his side had a tougher slog, over the course of a season, than Leinster. The mind games had begun.

On the latest House of Rugby [LISTEN from 3:10 below], O’Shea, Peat and myself dug into those O’Gara comments and what Leinster need to get right to defeat the reigning champions.

Ronan O'GaraRonan O’Gara, the La Rochelle head coach, celebrates with Joel Sclavi after their victory during the Heineken Cup Champions Cup semi final match against Exeter Chiefs, at Stade Matmut Atlantique. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Ronan O’Gara mind games ahead of Leinster clash

While Ronan O’Gara did correct BT Sport presenter Martin Bayfield about Leinster’s upcoming United Rugby Championship matches, he stressed that La Rochelle must grind harder over the course of a season.

“We’re 10 months of a slog,” O’Gara said. “So, I have to get a team [together] for Toulon, then we play Montpellier and then Leinster. You might think it’s a little bit off if this guy here is just thinking about [a team to play] Leinster on just the week of the final.”

“I’ll tell you exactly what Ronan is doing,” said Lindsay Peat, “he’s started to play the games. I see you ROG, I see you!

“No, 100%, he’s starting to play the games. It’s not that he is preparing for results, either way. He’s starting to play the mind games. He’s starting to plant the seed. He’s taking the pressure off his players by saying they’ve to go hard for 10 months each season. He’s an exceptionally talented man in how he plays the mind games. Do you know what I like about him – he’s protecting his team.”

Indeed, Leinster assistant coach Robin McBryde was already in front of the media, on Monday, and insisting that Leinster have it equally tough in the URC. Leo Cullen has already railed against comments and stories of Leinster having too many things swinging their way, and home advantages at Aviva Stadium.

Greg O’Shea and Lindsay Peat are joined by Pat McCarry in the House of Rugby studio as they look back on a big weekend of Champions Cup and Women’s Six Nations rugby. They discuss:

(1:00) – International Rugby Experience
(3:00) – Leinster thump Toulouse
(10:15) – Josh van der Flier and Toulouse indiscipline
(23:20) – La Rochelle blitz Exeter
(45:00) – Women’s Six Nations
(59:00) – URC quarter final preview


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