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04th Feb 2023

Peter O’Mahony reaction to Liam Williams scuffle shows he may finally be mellowing

Patrick McCarry

Peter O'Mahony

‘Have I slipped into a parallel universe?’

Peter O’Mahony loves nothing better than gearing up for a big Test match by getting right under the opposition’s skin.

New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Wales – you name the country and O’Mahony has got into it with some of their best and brightest.

During a wide-ranging interview with SportsJOE, last November, the Munster back row spoke about how he engages in all-out ribbing, and more, with the opposition as a way to keep the fire stoked. He said:

“You’re in a high pressure, high conflict, high contact zone. There’s no other way to be. But, look, this is part of rugby. There’s always chat going on and, unfortunately, some of it is picked up, some of it isn’t. At the end of the day, it’s all – nine times out of 10, unless someone has taken real offence to something – it’s forgotten after the final whistle. You wouldn’t even have to chat about it, after.

“That’s just part and parcel of the game, and the nature of the beast.”

Against Wales, at a high-pressure moment in the second half, O’Mahony was right in the middle of a melee but performing a role that took quite a few people by surprise.

Peter O'Mahony

Peter O’Mahony the peacemaker

Ireland raced into an early 14-0 lead against Wales, in their Six Nations opener, and led 27-3 at half-time.

Wales came out after the break and scored a try, through Liam Williams, to get themselves back in the contest. To make matters shakier, for Ireland, Andrew Porter was pinged for what referee Karl Dickson felt was a late shot on Williams after he had grounded the ball.

The incident [from 0:25 below] was followed by a melee and Peter O’Mahony was the man initially trying to break it up.

The Andrew Porter tackle on Liam Williams was a case of too-much-too-late but the Welsh players – fired up after getting back into the game – saw red.

Williams grabbed a hold of Porter’s jersey and both Ken Owens and Dan Biggar waded in. Josh van der Flier raced over to help while Peter O’Mahony shunted Owens aside and tried to hold more players back from getting involved.

You can see the incident here, as Peter O’Mahony arrives on the scene to try break up the fracas.

His presence only seemed to incense the Welsh lads, though, and the Cork native soon ended up at the bottom of a pile of bodies.

Peter O'MahonyCredit: Virgin Media

The Munster back-row made nine carries and stuck five tackles in his 60 minutes on the pitch, with his five clean lineout takes his most telling contribution.

Jack Conan could yet come in for next weekend’s game against France, with Caelan Doris moving to No.6, but we reckon Peter O’Mahony will be asked to start, and get stuck in [physically and verbally] again.


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