With much of the build-up to Saturday’s match against South Africa focused on the untried centre partnership of Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne, Munster’s Peter O’Mahony has added his voice to the support for the two players.
Speaking at the team announcement yesterday O’Mahony said he had seen enough from both players to have faith in them to perform.
“I’ve played with Robbie. They’re two hugely talented footballers,” said O’Mahony. “I’ve played against them as well.”
He also emphasized his trust extended throughout the Irish camp: “All the rest of the 13 and the extended squad have huge confidence in the lads.”
Not that O’Mahony is spending too much time worrying about the centres, when asked about it his first response was typically forthright - O'Connellesque.
“I’ve enough to be worrying about in the back row, to be honest,” he smiled.
O’Mahony also acknowledged the strength of South Africa’s recent performances and the challenge that they pose for Ireland.
“You’ve seen them all the way through the Rugby Championship,” said O’Mahony. “Every performance they’ve put in they’ve been battling for 80 minutes.”
“Every time you put on the jersey for Ireland you’ve got to be looking for an 80 minute performance and South Africa is no different,” he added.
“Especially against these guys, we are going to have to play for 80.”
Breakingnews.ie reporter Shaun Cronin spoke to Irish Examiner rugby correspondent Simon Lewis about the upcoming match.