David Humphreys says former Ireland team-mate Ronan O’Gara has a bright future in coaching after guiding La Rochelle to Champions Cup glory.
O’Gara has been tipped as a possible future Ireland or France coach after La Rochelle edged Leinster in a thrilling final last weekend.
“Leinster are probably the best team I’ve seen in club rugby so it was a tactical masterclass,” said Humphreys.
“It’s another magnificent achievement on a personal level for him.”
Former Ulster star Humphreys and O’Gara were rivals for the Ireland fly-half spot during their playing careers and both moved into coaching.
Humphreys was director of rugby at Gloucester for six years until 2020 while Munster legend O’Gara started his coaching career with Racing 92 in France before moving to New Zealand with Crusaders.
Promoted to top job
The 45-year-old joined La Rochelle as head coach in 2019 before replacing Jono Gibbs as director of rugby last year.
La Rochelle were beaten by French rivals Toulouse in last year’s Champions Cup final but went one better on Saturday with a 24-21 victory over the Irish favourites to win the competition for the first time.
“To get to the top or be the best you can you need to experience different clubs, different cultures and different environments,” Humphreys told The Ulster Rugby Show.
“You look at what he’s done, the teams that he’s been part of and the success that he’s had. That’s given him an incredibly strong grounding for his future career.
“The most successful coaches have worked their way up. If you’re sitting at the top of the IRFU you want your best coaches getting those experiences.
“Knowing him and his knowledge of the game it was never going to be the tactical element of the game that was maybe lacking – it was maybe more about managing some of the big egos.
“But at every stage he’s learnt something different and that’s that why he’s learning to deal with that pressure.”
You can see more of David Humphreys’ interview on The Ulster Rugby Show on Thursday at 22:00 BST on BBC2 NI and the BBC iPlayer.