Xavier Garbajosa departs Challenge Cup finalists
Ronan O'Gara could be a step closer to a return to the Top 14. La Rochelle have confirmed the departure of backs coach Xavier Garbajosa.
The former French international leaves Les Corsaires after four-years. Garbajosa is expected to be confirmed as the head coach of Montpellier in the coming days.
O'Gara has been regularly linked with a return to France in recent months. The former Racing 92 coach is reaching the end of the Super Rugby season with his current employers Crusaders.
Le Stade Rochelais et Xavier Garbajosa ont résilié d'un commun accord leur engagement réciproque à compter du 1er juillet 2019. https://t.co/BRjI8UwlY0
— Stade Rochelais (@staderochelais) May 13, 2019
A mooted relationship with the French national side for the World Cup ultimately didn't come to pass.
But as recently as last week, Midi Olympique reported a three-year contract had been agreed between O'Gara and La Rochelle. O'Gara's former club Racing are also said to be interested in acquiring his signature.
Garbajosa was contracted with the beaten European Challenge Cup finalists until 2021 but will be released from his deal on July 1st.
Should the move to La Rochelle come to pass, it will see O'Gara link up with former Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes.
Gibbes led La Rochelle to this season's Challenge Cup final where they were beaten 36-16 by Clermont-Auvergne at St. James's Park.
🇫🇷 The French affair did not disappoint 😍@ASMOfficiel lifted the #ChallengeCupRugby trophy for the third time after seeing off @staderochelais in a thrilling final 🏆
🎥 Match highlights 👇 pic.twitter.com/EJdCWIKAvI
— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) May 11, 2019
With two games left to play of the regular Top 14 season, La Rochelle sit fourth in the table and are closing in on a place in the playoffs.
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