Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Dan Sheridan/INPHO O'Mahony is pictured at the launch of Aviva Ireland’s Christmas donation drive.
# Peter the Great
'We want to stay ahead of the curve - your intent is to play the perfect game'
Peter O’Mahony feels Ireland can still improve in 2023 despite a spectacular year when they defeated the world champions and won a series in New Zealand.

THEY HAVE BEATEN the world champions, created history by winning a Test series on New Zealand soil, won a Triple Crown, secured a record away win over England and yet Peter O’Mahony believes this Ireland team are nearer the beginning than the end of their journey.

The ultimate target is winning a World Cup, even if a semi-final appearance would represent historic progress, while the small matter of the Six Nations is also on their to-do list.

“There would be a serious issue if we didn’t think we had more to give,” said O’Mahony. 

“There’s lots of big rugby coming up and, you know, you have to be improving all the time as (rival) teams are getting better and better.

“We want to stay ahead of that curve. 

“We are a very ambitious group and a real hungry group of people to keep improving on performances. 

“We still feel there is plenty more to go. Your intent is to always go and play the perfect game. That’s what you are chasing and we’ll continue with that chase.”

The person guiding them on their chase has yet to receive the kind of accolades his predecessor got but nonetheless Andy Farrell has finally escaped Joe Schmidt’s shadow.

And you can see why. Sixteen wins from the last 18 tests is evidence of a coach who has generated a formidable spirit in his team.

“It would be wrong to speak of him on his own, he is our head coach but there is a whole group that is very comfortable in themselves and as a collective,” O’Mahony said.

andy-farrell Tom Maher / INPHO Tom Maher / INPHO / INPHO

“They are very calm, capable of giving us direction and are very conscious of [us] having our input. Wanting us to take things on board. When you are invested in that as much as we are, Andy is at the top of that, you all take a huge amount of confidence from that.

“You all end up being very much aligned, where you see the group going and getting a handle on where it is at the time. The more people that are like that in the group, the load is spread over people. You are all very much on the same wavelength.

“Andy has done a great job from that side of things. He is certainly a very calming figure, but his coaching, the way he delivers his messages and then just the man. The person is bigger than the player or the group, he is a good person to be around and have in camp.

“He always speaks about, you know, the person is bigger than the group. He is a good person to be around and have in camp and when that person is delivering the most important messages it’s obviously very helpful.” 

They’ll need all the assistance they can get tomorrow evening for irrespective of the Wallabies defeat to Italy last weekend, they remain a dangerous opponent.

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For starters, this week’s Australian line-up bears little resemblance to the XV who were upset in Florence six days ago; secondly they have also put in some brilliant displays in 2022, running France to a point two weeks ago, beating South Africa, Argentina and England.

Their trouble is they’ve got into a habit of losing tight games: France, then Italy, beat them by a point; the All Blacks beat them by two; England by eight and by four (in the second and third tests of their summer series).

“They have the ability to certainly maul like the South African teams but I think they play a little bit more expansive rugby,” said O’Mahony. “Their width is a bit more – not saying South Africa don’t play wide rugby – but I think it’s been a real focus for this particular Australian team.

“They love playing with width, they loving playing rugby from deep and added to that their maul threat, and some of their first three phase attacks are very impressive. When they get things right, they can be very hard to get a handle on.”

“Irish Rugby player Peter O’Mahony has been announced as an ambassador for Aviva Ireland. Peter is pictured at the launch of Aviva Ireland’s Christmas donation drive – for every Aviva home insurance policy sold this festive season, Aviva Ireland will donate €10 to charity through its partner, FoodCloud. Visit

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