Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O'Gara has confirmed rumours of his departure this morning after announcing he has taken up a job in France after the current Super Rugby season.
O'Gara has accepted a new coaching role with French club La Rochelle after he finishes this season with the defending Super Rugby champions.
"My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Christchurch and were welcomed in to the Crusaders family with open arms when we arrived in early 2018," O'Gara said.
"This is one of the best rugby clubs in the world, and it certainly wasn’t an easy decision to move on from this team and their high-performance environment.
"I’m grateful to the Crusaders for the faith they’ve shown in me as a coach, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have worked alongside a world-class playing and management group for the last two seasons.
"While I see this move to La Rochelle as the next step in my coaching career and an exciting opportunity for my young family, I’d like to think, long-term, this is not necessarily the end of my time with the Crusaders."
The former Ireland international joined the Crusaders in 2018 when he replaced Leon MacDonald as the backs coach having previously worked as an assistant coach at French club Racing 92.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said he'd be missed.
"Ronan quickly endeared himself to our playing group when he joined us last season and has established great relationships with our backs," Robertson said.
"He stepped in to this environment and really challenged our thinking early on, providing the fresh perspective we were after in our coaching group. We’ve seen a huge amount of personal growth in Ronan during his time here, he continues to be a great friend to me and he’s been an integral part of our success to date.
"On behalf of the Crusaders team, we wish Ronan and his family all the very best on their return to France."