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Peter O’Mahony: ‘Red cards like that do games no favours – I don’t think there was any intent'

Ireland captain lends his support to Italian hooker, Epalahame Faiva, after his controversial sending off.

Faiva is red carded for his tackle on Sheehan.
Faiva is red carded for his tackle on Sheehan.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IRELAND CAPTAIN PETER O’Mahony has expressed solidarity with Epalahame Faiva after the Italian hooker’s red card ruined today’s game at the Aviva.

Faiva was sent off for a high tackle on Dan Sheehan. Because the Italians had already lost their hooker to injury, they were then double punished as the laws dictated that Italy had to lose a second player as uncontested scrums were thereafter inevitable. It is clearly a deeply flawed law.

O’Mahony said: “Red cards like that probably do games no favours. I don’t think there was any intent there.

“It definitely disrupted the game but we tried to stay at it and credit to Italy. They went down two men and then three with eight minutes to go. They stuck in there.

“We stuttered a little with the stopping and starting. But look 57 points, a bonus point, we have a lot to work on.

“We probably could have navigated our way through the game a bit better.”

Asked if the surreal nature of playing against 13 men required a period of adjustment, O’Mahony replied: “It probably did, and it shouldn’t have. There was a lot of waiting around with regard to what the ruling was, and just the whole stop-start of the whole 20 minutes that surrounded it. 

“What we need to be better on the pitch is negotiating our way around what the opposition are presenting us with.

“We want to be ruthless but we weren’t, certainly, in the last 20 minutes of the first half and parts of the second half when we should have made life more difficult for a team that were down to 13. 

“So you want to be ruthless but at times our inaccuracy let us down.”

That option of carelessness won’t be there when they play England in two weeks.

“The England game will be huge but every game in this competition is huge.”

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Player of the match, Josh van der Flier, was also sympathetic to Italy’s replacement hooker.

He said: “We are really pleased with the result, it was tough going for Italy, they did really well with 13 men for so long in that game, so a lot of credit goes to them. It was really sloppy from us at times. It was quite stop-start; Italy made it difficult for us.

“We definitely have a lot to improve on going into the England game.

“It is a pleasing result overall and credit to Italy for how they played out there.”

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Garry Doyle

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