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Peter O’Mahony Favourite to Captain Lions Side Against All-Blacks

Peter O’Mahony Favourite to Captain Lions Side Against All-Blacks – Twenty-seven-year-old back rower O’Mahony went a long way towards sealing his place in the starting 15 to face New Zealand after captaining the Lions team to an impressive win over the Maori All-Blacks

Peter O’Mahony Favourite to Captain Lions Side Against All-Blacks

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Jordan Mac Cormaic

Munster Rugby captain Peter O’Mahony has emerged as the leading contender to captain the British & Irish Lions side in Saturday’s First Test against the All-Blacks at Eden Park, Auckland, 8:35 am Irish time.


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Twenty-seven-year-old back rower O’Mahony went a long way towards sealing his place in the starting 15 to face New Zealand after captaining the Lions team to an impressive win over the Maori All-Blacks in Rotorua last weekend.

O’Mahony’s leadership skills were praised by Lions assistant coach Andy Farrell in the wake of that success.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland has also been impressed by O’Mahony’s “Munster mongrel” spirit on the tour.

Gatland said: “It’s not something that you can quantify, what Munster brings to a game. It’s a special pride, sometimes, the performances they can produce and it’s done consistently over the years.

He continued: “Being able to dig deep and bring performances from places where individuals and collectively people often can’t do. That’s what Peter will bring to the team.”

Lions tour captain Sam Warburton has struggled to replace Leinster’s Sean O’Brien in the starting line-up increasing the chances of Munster’s O’Mahony captaining the test team in Auckland this weekend.

Peter O’Mahony, who captained Ireland on their 2013 tour of North America, became the fourth player to lead the Lions on this year’s tour, following Welsh forwards trio Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and tour captain Warburton.

 

Peter O'Mahony

Lions head coach Warren Gatland has also been impressed by Peter O’Mahony’s “Munster mongrel” spirit on the tour.

The Lions, under their fifth captain this tour, Rory Best, scored an impressive 34-6 victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Tuesday.

 

Meanwhile, Munster scrum-half Conor Murray looks certain to start Saturday’s opening Test in Auckland. In 2013, Patrickswell man Murray travelled as an outside bet for the Test side, but he impressed enough to feature off the bench in the final two Tests with Australia. 

Speaking in the wake of the weekend triumph over the Maoris, Munster’s Murray said: “It’s definitely got the potential to be better than 2013. We’re still figuring a few things out and we’ve got a massive test in the next few weeks so we’ll find out at the end of that.

“There’s excitement there that the potential is growing and we want to see how good we are,” he said.

Murray was very impressed with how New Zealand performed in their warm-up game against Samoa last weekend.

“They obviously performed really well and sent out a big message. We analysed them really well, we have a really good video team and the coaches will give us good information and we’ll keep building our own game” Murray said.

He continued: “We’ll obviously focus on the threats they’ll bring but we’ll keep building our squad and our game plan, and look to iron out a few creases. The buzz is good.”

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton looks unlikely to start as England fly-half Owen Farrell returns from injury. The final match-day 23 will be announced on Wednesday night, 8 pm Irish time.

To view the official Lions preview of the match click here

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.