herald

Saturday 21 April 2018

Irish No 8's brave face as O'Mahony sizes up Samoans

Peter O'Mahony. Picture: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE
Peter O'Mahony. Picture: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

NUMBER eight Jamie Heaslip was not about to let the hurt of losing the Ireland captaincy seep through into the public eye.

He has his sights trained firmly on Samoa: "They're a big side, a physical side. They're a bit of a full-package because you have big runners coming in tight and really good expansive runners out in the backs," he said.

"They can play an open, loose game, or if they need to roll up their sleeves they have some big players who can carry hard and create some quick ball for a very good back line to attack on.

"So, we have to box that little bit clever. We have to reduce the collisions in the game and be clear in what we want to do, hold onto the ball and have that ball focus that we've talked about a lot as a group".

Heaslip's durability has been his hallmark. When others have fallen foul of injury, he has soldiered on. It is in his genes. He will take this knock like he does every other as a man who realises the health of the collective is far more important than the ambition of each individual.

It was difficult to tell whether Munster captain Peter O'Mahony was more impressed by the dimensions of coach Joe Schmidt's detail or the more straight forward measurements of the Samoans.

"Certainly, his detail is extremely impressive and his detail on our side of the ball is extremely impressive to me – he spots things in training where you didn't even know there was a camera angle."

The chuckles had barely receded when O'Mahony launched into a more fundamental assessment of the South Sea Islanders.

"They're so abrasive. Their set piece has really come on as well. Guys like Jack Lam, (Kahn) Fotuali'i, as well, are good players," he said.

"They're going to punish you big time with their off-loading, their broken play and their structure is second to none. We're going to have to be on our game at the weekend to cut these guys out".

The Cork man was even keen to play to the higher expectations out there.

"We've been very inconsistent and it's not where we know Irish rugby can be at," he said.

"We know we can compete with the best in the world if we're on our day ."

This is a world away from the humility of Declan Kidney's time at the helm: "It's not the first time we've put pressure on ourselves.

"The amount of Heineken Cups you have in it, Grand Slam winners, of course we're going to put pressure on ourselves to be better than we have been over the last couple of years."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News