Monday 19 March 2018

Malfunctioning velodrome was a disgrace – O'Gara

Former Munster out-half Ronan O'Gara
Former Munster out-half Ronan O'Gara

Former Munster out-half Ronan O'Gara has blasted the decision to play Munster's Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulon at a Stade Velodrome that is still under construction.

Despite a brave performance, Munster were beaten 24-16 by the defending champions.

One of the main stands at the stadium in Marseille was completely vacant for one of the biggest games in European club rugby, and the Racing Metro assistant coach was not impressed.

"The players and the supporters deserved a better stadium. To have a game of that importance in a stadium with one whole stand malfunctioning is a disgrace," O'Gara said on the Ray D'Arcy Show yesterday morning.

"I couldn't believe it when I arrived at the ground. People had to watch a game and the players had to play in a game where the (equivalent of the) whole east stand of Croke Park is gone for a semi-final of a European competition. It was staggering really.

"There were over 10,000 Munster supporters there yesterday and they deserve better than that.

"Playing there too, it has an effect. Every set-piece on that side of the pitch, there's no vocal support and players feed off that too. They deserve better than that for getting to the elite stage of a competition."

Meanwhile, Leinster wing Dave Kearney praised Munster's performance and insisted they were "unfortunate" not to win the game against the side that had knocked out the Blues in the quarter-final.

"They were pretty impressive, said Kearney. "I wasn't sure how the game was going to go but they fronted up really well and they were unfortunate not to come away with the win.

"We didn't play to our potential against Toulon and the scoreline reflected that."

Irish Independent

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