We feel a hell of a lot better after talking to Peter O'Mahony about his injury
Ronan O'Gara told us, on The Hard Yards rugby podcast, that Peter O'Mahony would "at least on the plane" with the British & Irish Lions this summer if he played well against Toulouse.
This evening at Thomond Park, O'Mahony played really, really well against Toulouse as Munster walloped the French side 41-16 to reach the Champions Cup semi-finals.
He was part of a Munster side that bristled with menacing intent from the off and he tossed in a couple of excellent lineout steals for good measure.
— Irish Biltong Co. 🏆 (@Irishbiltong) April 1, 2017
O'Mahony only lasted 50 minutes, though, as he succumbed to what Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus described as 'a massive dead leg'. Dave O'Callaghan took his place at blindside and the hosts barely missed a beat in reaching the final four.
The Munster captain worried some reporters by showing up very late for his media obligations after the final whistle. There was a good reason for it as he was getting his leg seen to by Munster medics..
Over an hour after the the game wrapped, he walked gingerly into the press room. Asked about the injury, he told us:
"It's not too bad. I just got it compressed now, so hopefully it's nothing too serious.
"I just got a bang on it. It swelled up quite badly at the time, so I just struggled to run it off. I tried to run it off but my bend went, so unfortunately I couldn't stay on."
O'Mahony praised the impact of the Munster bench as they put 17 points on the four-time European champs in the final 10 minutes. "It's a huge part of the game now," he said, "and for them to come on and make an impact, a lot of them early as well, was massive for us. It was great."
Erasmus is hoping to have Conor Murray [arm] and Keith Earls [back] fit for next weekend's game against Glasgow, in Cork, but he may go easier on O'Mahony and CJ Stander.
"CJ was ankle and Pete was just a massive blow to his upper thigh," he said. "And then there's lots of bumps and bruises but we'll see tomorrow how that goes." He added:
"We are now in a semi [and] if you win in a semi then next week against Glasgow and Ulster and all of those become a little bit easier to manage because you don't have another game going. We were always hoping that we would be in this position but now we will have to rest players and try another player, where if we had lost we would have had to go all guns blazing to the last three or four PRO12 games.
"We'll now keep Europe in the back of our heads, trying to manage the players the right way."
This time last year, Munster had lost to Connacht in Galway and were looking like missing out on Champions Cup qualification.
The times have definitely changed.