Ronan O'Gara believes that his southern hemisphere coaching experience has proved influential as he guided La Rochelle into the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.

The French side defeated Gloucester 27-16 at Kingsholm on Friday night to secure a home tie in the last-eight of the competition, and O'Gara feels that his side have a great mix of players and styles within his side.

O'Gara spent two seasons in 2018-19 coaching in New Zealand with the Crusaders and that experience has helped him to build an attacking side that are winning the plaudits throughout French and northern hemisphere rugby.

The French side sit second in their domestic league behind Toulouse, and will welcome Scarlets or Sale Sharks to Stade Marcel-Deflandre next weekend.

Full-back Dillyn Leyds and wing Arthur Retiere scored tries for O'Gara's Stade Rochelais in the win at Gloucester, with fly-half Ihaia West kicking 11 points and replacement Jules Plisson booting two penalties, including one from 50 metres.

"There are some very good players in our team, and we have a great mix and variety," La Rochelle head coach Ronan O'Gara told BT Sport.

"There is a big emphasis in the northern hemisphere on the ruck, but what I learned from my time with the Crusaders (in New Zealand) is you need to keep the ball alive.

"You could see tonight that we can play rugby, because the conditions, thinking about catching and passing, you can do that. 

"We're trying to get speed on the ball and keep it alive. there is a risk with that, but you have to weigh up the risk and reward. We were good at times, and inaccurate at times, but that's the beauty of our game."

And O'Gara said that he harks back to his playing days when pondering how to approach each game, while also making sure to keep things simple with his team direction.

"Every time I create a game-plan, I put myself there, 'what would I like?' and then conversely, 'what don't I like the opposition doing to me?', so that's exactly how you set up your team to succeed. 

"You have to keep persisting with your message, but you can't have too many messages. So us with the ball, there's a big focus on identifying space. We look at going through them, going outside them or ball in the air if they have 14 in the front line. 

"There is always decisions to be made and that's something that you never get right, but if we get most of them right then you have a good chance."

And La Rochelle rugby director Jono Gibbes added: "We realised it was going to be an emotional game and that they weren't going to give up. We had to keep on it.

"We wanted freshness and class on the field for the last period of the game to close it out, because they are a proud club with a lot of history at Kingsholm."

Gloucester boss George Skivington believes that La Rochelle are potential European winners after seeing his side beaten at Kingsholm.

"They have got a very strong squad," said Skivington.

"With the firepower they've got, I absolutely think they can go on and win it.

"They are in the quarter-finals and second in the French league. I suppose it depends from their point of view if they feel they have got the squad to fight on both fronts. Only they know that."