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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 21 January, 2019

Peter O'Mahony: Irish training is more vicious than anything you'll see in a Test match

The Munster flanker has recovered from a nasty blow to the head last week and is looking to inflict some hurt on England.

Peter O'Mahony prepares to ram-raid Dan Biggar.
Peter O'Mahony prepares to ram-raid Dan Biggar.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

PETER O’MAHONY JOGGED onto the Twickenham pitch last year with his Ireland team trailing 22-9 and enduring a gruesome St Patrick’s Day.

There are no national holidays tomorrow but a revenge victory over England at the Aviva Stadium might see an emergency bill drafted under the working title of ‘March 16: Grand Slam hooley?’

The flanker was one of Irish coach Declan Kidney’s injury worries this week but he shook off the fog endured after a clash of heads.

He will take his place in the back row alongside Sean ’23 tackles’ O’Brien and a Jamie Heaslip, a captain that is hoping to take his winning streak to four games.

O’Mahony told, “I had a bit of a headache on Sunday morning but the doc and the physio looked after me very well and I’m feeling 100%, which I’ll have to be for this challenge.

“I was half drip-fed back into training but I trained fully [on Friday] and feel good for it.”

The 23-year-old refused to be drawn into media urges to define an England game as the ultimate contest for an Irish rugby player.

“Every time you put on the jersey,” he declared,”is a huge honour and privilege so I’m looking forward to getting it on again and getting out there.”

Different place

O’Mahony has taken full advantage of the injuries to Sean O’Brien, last year, and Stephen Ferris to start four successive Test matches. His performance against Wales in Cardiff was his most effective in a green jersey to date.

He stresses that the Ireland team, lining up with six new faces in the starting line-up from that 30-9 loss in London, have changed immeasurably in the past year.

“I think this team is in a different place,” he told ”At the moment it’s a different outfit, feel, a different line-up and subs. Obviously you bank some of those memories. You’d be silly if you weren’t to.”

O’Mahony and Donnacha Ryan get to grips with Owen Farrell last year. (©INPHO/James Crombie)

O’Mahony points out that the ball carriers in the English pack and their breakdown accuracy mark them out as dangerous foes. The scrum, he adds, is just another facet of claiming a win.

O’Mahony said, “The scrum is so important in the game now that every week is as big as the next. It was a big as physical challenge as you could get against the Argies and that was a world-class Welsh front row last week.”

Shane Byrne commented midweek that no Irish player wanted to let his teammates down in that 30-22 win over Wales by shirking a tackle.

“You see it for 80 minutes,” said O’Mahony, “I see it every day of the week; the way the players perform in training.

How they put their bodies on the line against each other in training during the week is probably more vicious than you’re going to see on an international pitch.

“It didn’t surprise me, they way it worked out, but we’ll have to up our game again.”

* will be live for Ireland v England from the Aviva Stadium from 2pm this Sunday.

Slideshow: How Ireland Women’s team made history against England

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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