Ronan O'Gara has been handed the top job at La Rochelle in a three year deal.
O'Gara, who was the French Top 14 side's head coach has been appointed as 'head of the team' or Director of Rugby with Jono Gibbes departing the club in June. Gibbes is set to link up with fellow French powerhouse, Clermont.
The announcement is a huge vote of confidence in the 44-year-old Cork man.
O'Gara said: "I am extremely proud of the trust that Stade Rochelais continues to show me by appointing me at the head of the team. I am obviously very excited about next season, but first, we have important challenges ahead of us and above all a good season to end in the best possible way."
A club statement said that that officials are "therefore delighted with Ronan’s re-engagement until 2024 and his loyalty to the Stade Rochelais’ project, which he will continue to strengthen through his managerial skills, his top level experience and his full immersion in the club culture."
O’Gara is set to oversee full rugby operations at La Rochelle but will continue his day-to-day head coaching role.
The Cork man has not been short of alternative offers in recent times. Soundings have come from two other French clubs and two English Premiership teams, with one national union also sounding out his interest in a senior management role — though that is not believed to be the IRFU.
O'Gara began his coaching career at Racing 92 in 2013 (French Champion 2016), before joining the Crusaders in 2018 (Super Rugby Champion 2018 and 2019).
He is currently planning for a Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster on the May Bank Holiday weekend.