Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 0°C
©INPHO/Cathal Noonan Peter O'Mahony is now an established Irish back-row.
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'The form in the camp is brilliant' insists O'Mahony as France check-in
The Munster flanker has been solid in this year’s Six Nations without reaching spectacular heights.

AT TIMES DURING this week’s three media briefings, this Six Nations campaign really felt as if it were beginning to lag.

We began with the retirement of Ronan O’Gara before being told that the Munster man still has an international future.

The outhalf conundrum flummoxed the coaching staff, questions were posed over kicking duties and a lot of the talk was about what was going to happen to the Off The Ball lads.

The only person smiling, or trying his best to do so, was besieged Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip. The Number 8 has been roundly castigated for failing to bark orders as his side fell in appalling fashion to Scotland.

It came as somewhat of a surprise today to hear from flanker Peter O’Mahony that the Irish camp is in a good place.

“Obviously, no-one likes losing, ” he told “With results going the way they’ve gone, you have to, just, dust yourself off and get on with things.

The form in the camp is brilliant. Fellas are really rowing in behind each other.

“We’ve had a really good week’s training. It has been great, preparation-wise, leading into this game against France.”

O’Mahony added, “It is up to the players this week to show what we are about and where we want to be.”

King Louis

While Heaslip has the team’s highest number of carries over the first three championship outings and Sean O’Brien was the go-to guy against the Scots, O’Mahony has plunged into the breakdown and tried his best.

The Corkman made some positive carries in the first half against England but would admit that his influence has decreased as each of Ireland’s three games have progressed.

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That trend needs to be reversed on Saturday against a French back row featuring one of the tournament’s best players in Louis Picamoles. The Toulouse forward made 81 metres off 17 carries in a valiant loss to England at Twickenham.

O’Mahony said, “It’s a world-class back row. [Yannick] Nyanga, [Thierry] Dusautoir and Picamoles are all playing very well.

“They are a huge part of France’s game. Their front five and halfbacks are class as well so we’ll have to be right on top of our game to be competing.”

France will land at Dublin Airport tonight ahead of a Friday captain’s run at Lansdowne Road. If they board their return flight in a better mood than they arrive, one would be advised to steer clear of the Irish camp for a few days.

Paddy Jackson declared fit to start against France

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