Peter O’Mahony insisted that he has no intention of changing the way he approaches the game ahead of his return to the Ireland team.
Andy Farrell has Peter O’Mahony available for selection again after the Irish flanker served his suspension for his red card against Wales just 13 minutes into Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.
It remains to be seen whether O’Mahony will start against England in the final round of this year’s tournament but the Munster man is raring to go and has no plans to alter his style of play.
While O’Mahony has held his hands up and admitted that he deserved the red card that followed his aggressive clear-out of Welsh prop Tomas Francis last month, the 31-year-old believes he would be doing the green jersey a disservice by revising his approach to rugby.
“When it comes to the breakdown and when it comes to international rugby, you’ve got to be incredibly urgent, you’ve got to be incredibly accurate and you’ve got to bring physicality,” O’Mahony said. “And these incidents happen. It’s a very physical game.
RED CARD for Peter O'Mahony!
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) February 7, 2021
“I’ve always played hard. I’ve always played fairly, in my opinion, and, look, I was 100 per cent wrong in the incident and with what happened, but I think the guys – my teammates – know better than anyone that I was acting with the best intentions for the team, that day. And, unfortunately, that’s what happened.
“I don’t think they’d be looking to me to put in any different performance than I go around and do every other week, playing for Ireland. That would be unjust to the jersey. I try, every time, to play as best as I can. I think, more importantly than anyone, the lads around me know that.”
There is never a shortage of narratives going into a clash between Ireland and England but another storyline was added by the shock retirement announcement of CJ Stander.
All professional sports people are told “you will know when the time is right to hang up your boots”. It’s a sentiment one cannot fully comprehend until that day arrives.
For me, that time has come, and I hereby publicly announce my retirement from all forms of rugby. pic.twitter.com/KK5zgWC0O1
— C J Stander (@CJStander) March 16, 2021
The Aviva Stadium will play host to Stander’s final test match this weekend and while the announcement took many by surprise, his fellow Munster back row O’Mahony believes Stander has every right to bow out for the reasons he’s cited.
“He explained his reasons and they’re very valid and noble ones in my opinion,” O’Mahony said.
“Everyone would respect his decision. The man has given an incredible amount to Ireland and Munster, as well and Limerick.”