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Peter O'Mahony: Ireland's gameplan hasn't changed, we have the solutions within us

“Guys know that it’s the little things at the weekend that let us down.”

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

IRELAND AND MUNSTER back row Peter O’Mahony feels that Ireland simply need to maintain their current direction to continue progress.

Despite having nothing bar World Rugby ranking points and no little pride to play for with one round to go in this year’s Championship, O’Mahony preaches some caution to those who are demanding wholesale change.

“Yeah, you can’t do that,” the Corkman said at a tough Monday press conference in Maynooth yesterday.

“Guys will always buy in because you are playing alongside guys who matter a huge amount to you and who you’ve been through a huge amount with.

“You can’t just – because you’ve lost two games or because of the Wales game – throw the toys out, say: we need to change this or that. If anything, you’ve got to pull it in tighter and drive on, you know?”

O’Mahony looked like a man on the verge of exasperation at times as he, with only 29 match minutes to his name in this Championship, was tasked with outlining the factors which turned an expected success in this campaign into failure.

For professional rugby players, the answer will always come down to fine margins, the process and learning from those little errors that tilted the game. So O’Mahony was asked if it’s more difficult to follow along to the processes delivered down from coaches when the results alone are not inspiring faith.

“It isn’t really. You just go through what we’ve been through and what we’ve done,” said the Munster captain.

We’ve won Championships and I can tell you our plan hasn’t changed a huge amount since those couple of years ago.

“We beat Australia a few months ago. We beat the All Blacks. It’s not that far away, tt can’t be that far away.

“Guys know that it’s the little things at the weekend that let us down. Guys have the solutions. You have the solutions within you. You just gotta drag it out.”

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With two defeats to our celtic cousins already on the board, Ireland are in something of a no-win situation – even aside from the silverware shake-up. Lose, and it’s a culmination of a terrible campaign which began with long moan about a short bus delay. Win, and the players potentially build on a legacy of excelling when there is no pressure on them as an underdog and a party-pooper.

The beauty of a professional’s one-game-at-time compartmentalisation though, is that the latter prospect is of absolutely no concern for O’Mahony.

“If they are saying that after we beat England at the weekend, I’d be happy enough.”

Peter O'Mahony Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The 27-year-old’s presence yesterday suggests that Joe Schmidt might be of a mind to break up his starting back row trio when England come to down. O’Mahony has consistently maintained an expert pokerface throughout his relegation from first-choice blindside to back-up. Even when invited to blow his own trumpet and detail the differences he could make if played from the start, his resolve stood firmer than his vocal argument.

“Joe and the guys, they know us all and the kind of players we are. If I am selected you bring no different to what you’ve always brought to the table over the last six weeks in training, in camp or what I’ve brought when I’ve come on in the last couple of weeks.

“If they pick me, they pick me for a reason. If they don’t, if they want me to come off the bench and make an impact.

“I’ve tried to not to change my emotions in any way over the last few weeks. You’re there to prepare, whether it’s for the starting 15 or the 23, as best you can.”

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Sean Farrell

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