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'I've to roll out quicker and stay quiet as well': O'Mahony determined set a better example for Munster

Donnacha Ryan proved a frustrating figure for the Munster captain last weekend.

WITH A MUST-WIN pool finale against Castres ahead of them this weekend, discipline will again be a key area for Munster to train their focus on this week.

Though their final penalty counts are by no means astronomic, Munster have too often spent large portions of a game on the wrong side of a referee to concede momentum along with a glut of penalties.

After a narrow loss to Racing 92 on Sunday, Peter O’Mahony admitted he didn’t help matters. As captain, it’s vital that he leads the effort to drive down the penalty count.

“I’ve got to be able to roll out quicker and stay quiet as well,” the blindside says of the penalty that allowed Maxime Machenaud kick Racing into a 13 – 7 half-time lead.

By the time he is speaking to media in Munster’s UL training base, O’Mahony is done arguing over the decision.

He had a point to make to referee Matthew Carley, however.

dr v pom

The penalty came after O’Mahony’s 40th-minute tackle on Leone Nakarawa as the Fijian fielded a Conor Murray box-kick. The flanker begins to roll away – not at lightning quick pace, but he’s doing it – until Donnacha Ryan arrives and plants a big right hand on his former skipper before driving through the ruck to help lock O’Mahony in.

The Corkman’s protests to Carley about being pinned were delivered with a touch too much anger and the referee marched the penalty from halfway to within kickable range. It’s not an example O’Mahony wants any of his team-mates to follow.

Peter O'Mahony with Donnacha Ryan after the game O'Mahony and Ryan embrace post-match at the U Arena. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“(The penalty count) is something I’m working to get down. Discipline is something I drive, but then when I go not roll away and then (concede) an extra 10 metres, it’s not good for me and it’s not good for my team-mates to see that as well.

“That is something I have got to address myself personally and then it has got to filter back down through the team. It’s something that I drive hard and continue to do so, but it’s not ideal when I am after giving one away as well.”

It’s to Munster’s and O’Mahony’s credit that they have also shown an ability to take corrective measures and improve the pictures they are presenting to referees. In recent weeks, they have turned around heavily-penalised halves against both Connacht and Racing 92 to give away two in the second half of the inter-pro and four after the interval in Paris.

Peter O'Mahony O'Mahony on a watching brief at UL on Tuesday. Source: Dan Sheirdan/INPHO

O’Mahony looks set to be fit and available for Sunday’s home clash with Castres after Conor Oliver was named to start for Munster ‘A’ against Ospreys Premiership Select tomorrow. The captain sat out training on Tuesday with an ankle knock and will dearly hope his rehab efforts put him at the heart of another final day push for a quarter-final berth at Thomond Park.

“There’s been so many of them. We don’t like to do things in any way handy. Every time you get out of your pool in Europe it’s a huge feat.

“It’s a massive competition and the games are getting so big and the teams, the quality is incredible. The fact that we’ve put ourselves in the position to be in with a shout, it’s in our hands now to go to another quarter-final, it’s something that we’re proud of.”

Peter O'Mahony Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

There’s a lot of pride in Munster’s attacking mindset at present too, but with Van Graan’s ‘inter-linked’ ethos, breakdown discipline won’t fall down the order of importance.

“We are a smaller side,” says O’Mahony, “and we struggle sometimes with momentum stopping. It’s something that we are going to have to address and really put our heads down for this weekend.”

We always go out with the ambition to play rugby and to play ball. Lots of developments dictate what you can and can’t do. We’ll see later in the week what way the weather is, but we will go out on Sunday to play rugby and you have seen the ability of our forwards and backs have to play the game and to play rugby and play ball.”

He adds: “We’re going to try to fix a couple of things, a couple of tweaks here and there and just get stuck in on Sunday, like we always do.”

As for the ‘A’ side, who can secure a B&I Cup quarter-final place with a win in Cork tomorrow (kick-off 19.45), Peter Malone has made just one change to his side starting XV.

Ronan O’Mahony steps up his return to full fitness with a starting spot at fullback, replacing centre Dave McCarthy while Dave Johnston moves into midfield.

Gerbrandt Grobler continues in the second row, with the returning Dave O’Callaghan and Dan Goggin among the replacements.

Munster A (v Ospreys Premiership Select): Ronan O’Mahony; Calvin Nash, Shane Daly, Dave Johnston (C), Stephen Fitzgerald; Bill Johnston, James Hart; Jeremy Loughman, Mike Sherry, Brian Scott; Fineen Wycherley, Gerbrandt Grobler; Sean O’Connor, Conor Oliver, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements: Duncan Casey, Ciaran Parker, Sean McCarthy, Dave O’Callaghan, John Poland, Conor Fitzgerald, Dan Goggin.

‘If foreign players have been caught doing that, it is hindering home-grown players who are doing it the right way’

Expansive Munster attack about ‘inter-linked’ approach for Van Graan

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Sean Farrell

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