O’Gara: ‘Everyone wants to beat Racing 92’

Date published: September 29 2016

Ronan O'Gara says Racing 92 are struggling to cope with the success that comes with winning the Top 14.

Racing not only won the Top 14 final but also played in the Champions Cup final and according to O'Gara it means everyone wants to beat them now.

"In 2014 our team got to a semi-final, in 2015 a semi-final and in 2016 we won a Bouclier (de Brennus) and got to the final of the Champions Cup. So that’s massive progress, right, but it has changed now. That’s done, O’Gara told the Irish Times.

"I am in a period now where we go to places as champions. There is coping with success and coping with failure. We are struggling to cope with success. We are 14 out of 15 points for our games at home and zero out of 15 for our games away from home.

"Why is that? It certainly has got to do with us, a hangover potentially, but also now you are champions there is a target on your back. You come into a local town and everyone wants to beat you. That is something I am learning about and I don’t have answers at the minute. I’m the defence coach and we have copped 103 points in the last three games. 

"So am I going to change what I believe in considering in the final we went down to 14 men after 20 minutes and we won against Toulon? I am not. I just got to cop that now. Keep the players confident. To succeed there needs to be a massive calmness," he added.

O'Gara said the club mentality in France maybe needed to change.

"If you are playing in the national team, playing in a province these guys are really driven and it is a passion for them. Going to France it is a career, it is work," the Racing defence coach said.

"I played my last game in May and in July I was part of a coaching team with two head coaches and I was assistant coach for 40 international players evenly split between 20 foreigners, 20 French. I was shocked a little bit to see the attitude of players. Something you take for granted in Ireland with Munster. Maybe it was a special time in the teams I played with guys were extremely driven and then you go to a different environment, your head is in a spin because you have retired and you are into a new career.

"That is something that stays with me; how driven are the group? And how do you work that? For me it is about consistent daily standards. When you start talking about rugby as work you are beaten. It is over. Rugby is not work it’s a passion. It’s something as a boy you dream of doing. The minute you start thinking you are going to work every morning you are missing the point."