Dan Carter says Ronan O’Gara played a huge part in Racing 92 getting to the European Champions Cup final – where they will play Leinster in Bilbao on Saturday.
Munster legend O’Gara coached New Zealand great Carter at Racing before he moved to the southern hemisphere to take up a role with Canterbury Crusaders at the start of the year.
"He played a key role in our team," said Carter, one of the greatest out-halves the game has ever seen.
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"He’s gone now to New Zealand to work with the Crusaders and he couldn’t give up that opportunity.
"He was our defence coach here at Racing and he actually changed quite a few things in our defence this season and he hasn’t been here to get the credit for that.
"That has been a huge weapon for us – we have been able to apply a lot of pressure and force our opponents into mistakes through our defence.
"A lot of that is down to Ronan and the hard work he put in at the start of the season. He’s sorely missed."
Carter, who was speaking exclusively to RTÉ Sport, joked that the pair used to communicate through French as the former All Black would have needed an interpreter to have understood O’Gara and his Cork accent had he been speaking English.
The pair formed a close bond and Carter says he has left a lasting impression on the club he left behind.
"He’s a coach I worked very closely with, he has a huge passion for the game and that rubbed off on a lot of the players. I really enjoyed working with him," he said.
Follow Leinster versus Racing 92 in the Champions Cup final via our live blog on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App from 4pm, or listen to live coverage on RTÉ Radio 1 as Saturday Sport comes from Bilbao.