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13th Feb 2021

“It can be cruel at times” – Sean O’Brien on Peter O’Mahony red card fall-out

Patrick McCarry

Peter O'Mahony

“It can be cruel at times.”

Ireland go into their next three games in the 2021 Six Nations without the services of Peter O’Mahony.

Given the head injuries sustained by James Ryan and Johnny Sexton in Ireland’s loss to Wales, last weekend, O’Mahony would have been next in line as Ireland captain. As it is, O’Mahony is suspended until the final game of the championship with one Welsh player believing he should be out for the entire championship.

On House of Rugby UK, former Leinster Sean O’Brien spoke well about the red card O’Mahony – his former Ireland teammate – received after only 13 minutes against the Welsh.

“I don’t think he was going in to get him, chicken-wing him, or anything like that,” said O’Brien. “He just wanted to git the ruck hard and it didn’t come out right for him.”

O’Brien is in a good position to understand what O’Mahony is going through right now. He was suspended for a World Cup quarter final against Argentina, in 2015, after punching France forward Pascal Papé in a pool match.

He escaped sanction during the game but his subsequent ban hit an injury-ravaged Ireland side [O’Mahony, Paul O’Connell and Johnny Sexton were all missing from that Argentina game].

“It does sit badly with you for a while, I’ll be honest with you, when you do let the side, the management… let everyone down.

“But that’s sport, at the end of the day. You have to move on. It can be cruel at times.”

Following their 21-16 win over Ireland, Wales centre Nick Tompkins was asked if his own side would take any learnings from the game, Referring to O’Mahony’s crunching clear-out on Tomas Francis, the former England U20 centre commented:

“I’m not sure I’m going to be shouldering anyone to the face anytime soon!

“If you do that, you’re pretty much going to be sent off. What it does mean is that you have to be controlled with whatever you’re doing when you go into a ruck.

“If you lose control with whatever it is, you’re done. I’m not really sure you can argue with an elbow or a shoulder to the face. I’m surprised he didn’t get longer, to be honest.”

Tompkins himself was fortunate in his last outing not to be cautioned by referee Wayne Barnes when he deliberately batted a pass down fro Ireland’s scrumhalf Jamison Gibson Park.


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