Ronan O’Gara handed ‘huge ban and fine’ for ‘inappropriate’ text messages

La Rochelle boss Ronan O’Gara has been handed a ten week suspension and a fine of €20,000 (£17,245).

The 45-year-old, who has spent the last couple of weeks co-coaching the Barbarians alongside Scott Robertson, was banned forbehavior likely to damage the image, reputation or interests of rugby or its bodies”.

It was revealed that the former fly-half vented his frustration with the standard of Top 14 officials via text messages to Franck Maciello, the boss of the French referees.

This is the second such ban the Irishman has received after he was banned from the match-day touchline for six weeks after facing the charge of disrespecting an official match two months ago.

The LNR statement read: “Ronan O’Gara was sanctioned with a ten-week suspension as well as a fine of €20,000, of which €5,000 was accompanied by a suspended sentence on the grounds of an ‘attack on the best interests of rugby’…

“…and more particularly for ‘any breach by a person referred to in article 714, of honor or probity, any conduct violent or abusive or defamatory remarks by a person referred to in article 714 with regard to any failure to respect the duty of confidentiality , as well as any deliberate violation of the federal regulations or general regulations of the LNR or conduct likely to infringe to the image, reputation or interests of rugby or its bodies, any breach of ethics and sports ethics, any non-compliance with a decision pronounced by a disciplinary body of the LNR’.

“Consequently, O’Gara will be requalified on January 30, 2023. Under article 65 of the LNR’s general regulations, La Rochelle were sanctioned with a fine of €20,000 including €5,000 suspended. These decisions are subject to appeal before the FFR appeals committee within seven days from the notification of the full reasoned decision.”



Who will replace Eddie Jones?

The Rugby Football Union have reportedly put together a three-man shortlist to replace Eddie Jones as England head coach after next year’s Rugby World Cup.

The RFU expects to finalize its appointment in May – just four months before the tournament gets under way in France – and is set to reach out to all three candidates now that Bill Sweeney, its chief executive, is back from six weeks in New Zealand for the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Sweeney had said that the successful candidate could be part of England’s management team at the World Cup. The RFU initially stated its preference was for an English head coach but that stance has softened

One possible candidate the RFU has missed out on is France defense coach guru Shaun Edwards.

“People have asked if I wanted to join England but there was no offer on the table,” wrote Edwards in his column for the Mail Online.

“I went for a walk down the River Thames with Bill Sweeney, the RFU CEO, last year but there’s not been much conversation since. It’s not for me to push that.

“We’re in a cost of living crisis, with clubs like Wasps and Worcester sadly going out of business.

“I remember how close I was to having no job after the 2015 World Cup and I don’t need any more of those sleepless nights.”

England’s Three-Man Shortlist to replace Jones:

#1. Scott Robertson

Mike Brown, the former England fullback who captained the Barbarians against Harlequins, wrote in his Mail on Sundaycolumn that he was “convinced” Robertson would be the “perfect successor” to Jones.

Scott Robertson facts:

  • Robertson showed huge ambition as he outlined a goal to win the World Cup with two different countries
  • His position as a player was flanker and he played for Bay of Plenty, Perpignan, Canterbury, the Crusaders and the All Blacks
  • Robertson is known for his post victory match break dancing routine

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