VIDEO: Watch as Ronan O'Gara gets in a sideline scuffle
NEWS: A bizarre incident in the Top 14 clash between Clermont and La Rochelle has grabbed headlines after former Irish international and La Rochelle head coach Ronan O’Gara was attacked by an opposition player.
O’Gara, who often patrols the sidelines for his side’s games, was shoved aggressively twice by flyhalf Benjamin Urdapilleta after a kick sailed past into touch.
Urdapilleta had been trying to field the kick for a quick line-out whilst O’Gara was caught in the line of ball and could not escape the collision which was outside the field of play.
The Clermont flyhalf took exception to O’Gara’s involvement and shoved the former flyhalf twice in the back, much to O’Gara’s surprise. The former Irish international was stunned but did not retaliate.
The Argetininian was penalised for the incident by the referee after a scuffle broke out between the sides.
Urdapilleta doubled down after the match speaking with Canal+ claiming that O’Gara’s blocking was intentional.
“With the adrenaline, I sometimes have a few excesses,” he said.
“He’s smart, I think he did it on purpose to prevent me to receive the ball.
“At the time of the action, we were behind in the score so it was complicated.
“”it’s sport, it can happen. Once the match is over, you forget.”
Urdapilleta ended up with the final say, kicking a penalty that gave Clermont enough of a cushion to hold a 11-10 win.
Clermont head coach Christophe Urios, who got into an altercation with O’Gara on the sidelines during his time with Bordeaux, laughed off the incident with his post-match assessment.
“I was not afraid of the consequences for Benjamin. Ronan O’Gara had only to remove himself (laughs). What do you want me to tell you? There is nothing wicked,” he said.
O’Gara’s response came during a press conference, where he expressed his disappointment at the situation.
“A little shocked” said O’Gara of the incident. “He wanted to play quickly so it happens, but I was in my zone. He pushed me twice, right? It’s weird… I know I’m no angel, but there’s respect, and tonight I think we crossed the line.”
“It has no place in our sport. But a card? It’s not possible either, because it’s for the players against the players, not between the players and the staff.
“It’s a disappointment, he didn’t have the class to apologise. I understand, he’s frustrated because he won’t be playing in the World Cup. That’s how it is.”