Ronan O'Gara - the Heineken Cup record points scorer - has called time on his glittering playing and is to join Racing Metro 92 as the French club's half backs coach.
The Munster outside half has scored 1,365 points in 110 tournament appearances and is a double Heineken Cup winner with the Irish club. He will link up with current Ireland No 10 Jonny Sexton who will be joining the ambitious club from Amlin Challenge Cup champions Leinster. "The most difficult aspect of my decision is the realisation of what I am leaving behind," O'Gara told the Irish Examiner. "That is a club that is very close to my heart and has given me the most extraordinary memories. I cannot speak highly enough of the men I have played with since 1997. "The bond between the players is very hard to define and people on the outside have no idea of the depth of feeling among the players. "I firmly believe, too, that the Munster supporters play a crucial role in the team's success. Their knowledge, love, enthusiasm and passion is above and beyond what we or any team in world rugby could rightly expect. "But I am hugely excited about the prospect and looking forward to the new challenge. I will be working mainly with their first team and will also look after the half backs at all age levels. "I will also be working with Racing's Academy and that excites me because I need to understand principles of coaching the younger aged."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.