Tuesday 22 August 2017

Andy Farrell 'comfortable' with Peter O'Mahony as Lions captain

 

Andy Farrell, the Lions defence coach looks on during the British & Irish Lions training session at Beetham Park. Photo: Getty Images
Andy Farrell, the Lions defence coach looks on during the British & Irish Lions training session at Beetham Park. Photo: Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Andy Farrell says he would have no reservations if Peter O'Mahony was chosen to lead the Lions in the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday, but stopped short of fully endorsing the Ireland blindside's credentials.

The Munster skipper is in line to captain the side if Warren Gatland sticks to the starting pack that beat the Maori All Blacks last Saturday.

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His decision to select Alun Wyn Jones on the bench for this morning's clash with the Chiefs suggests he won't start, while tour captain Sam Warburton is battling against the form that the combination of O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Taulupe Faletau have shown in the wins over the Crusaders and the Maori.

Believes

The Ireland and Lions defence coach believes the 27-year-old Corkman would be well able for the job.

"I'd be more than comfortable," Farrell said of O'Mahony.

"I'd be more than comfortable with a number of players being able to do that. To be honest, it'd be the easiest team to captain because there's so many leaders out there.

"What the guys who have captained the side so far have realised is they don't have to be vocal all the time, because there's always people helping them out and I think the balance has been great."

Farrell is predicting a brutal collision between the tourists and the world champions and has challenged his team to raise their game.

"It's going to be a hell of a game. I know we'll turn up and we're a good side brimming for a big challenge," he said.

"Mentally and physically we'll be ready. It'll be interesting to see how the two teams marry together, the chemistry of that, who adapts well on the run. That's what the All Blacks have been very good at over the last period of time and we've got to be aware of that.

"Physically I don't think we've disappointed so far. Will we need to up our game? Certainly we will do. I think we are going to have to take ourselves to a place that individually we've not been to before. But the boys realise that and are excited by that challenge."

The Lions are expecting to have both Owen Farrell and Leigh Halfpenny available for selection for Saturday's game.

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