Peter O’Mahony on the battle to win a starting place for Ireland's Six Nations decider

Kate Rowan
·2-min read
Peter O'Mahony, left, and Jonathan Sexton of Ireland after the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland - SPORTSFILE
Peter O'Mahony, left, and Jonathan Sexton of Ireland after the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland - SPORTSFILE

Peter O’Mahony is looking forward to the battle to win back a starting place for Ireland’s Six Nations decider against France on Saturday.

Munster back row O’Mahony came on as a second-half replacement for Leinster’s Caelan Doris against Italy and made a big impression within 90 seconds. The 31-year-old, on his 68th Test appearance, came up with a stunning underhand offload to set up Bundee Aki for Ireland’s sixth try.

It was an outstanding moment in a comfortable 50-17 victory, which left Andy Farrell’s men with their destiny in their own hands – albeit having to beat France with a bonus point, something they have never managed before at the Stade France.

“Was it my best pass in an Ireland jersey? I’ve had a couple of good ones, but it would be top three,” O’Mahony said at a press conference. “It’s enjoyable to be able to make a difference. I enjoyed my time on the pitch at the weekend.

“You have a battle on your hands every week. I’ve had 68 battles. I’ve worked as hard as I could to get a jersey, whether on the bench or starting. There’s nothing taken for granted.

“The back row has never been anything but the most competitive position on the pitch. We’re in a battle every week to get a jersey. I’m hugely enjoying it and learning from it.

“The performance of the starting back row on Saturday was second to none and from a team point of view you couldn’t be prouder of the way the team worked – and particularly the back row. It’s a battle to get any jersey in this team.

“Do I deserve to start? I suppose you’d have to ask the coaches, it doesn’t matter what I think.” O’Mahony who captained the Lions in the first Test against New Zealand in 2017, echoed the sentiments of Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton that Ireland will need an improved performance if they are to claim the Six Nations for a fourth time in seven years.

“I think the form has been good, we’ve been quite analytical with regard to our performance, trying to pick out what we can work on and improve on,” O’Mahony said.

“It’s a different animal going to Stade de France on Saturday night and competing for a Six Nations title, we know we are going to have to be better than last Saturday.

“It’s cup final week, you don’t need any more motivation than to be winning trophies with your national team.”

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