| 9.4°C Dublin

Fear is something that drives me - we have always used it

Close

Peter O'Mahony: 'I already have enough on my plate with the lineout and the scrum without worrying what the lads are doing'. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Peter O'Mahony: 'I already have enough on my plate with the lineout and the scrum without worrying what the lads are doing'. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Peter O'Mahony: 'I already have enough on my plate with the lineout and the scrum without worrying what the lads are doing'. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

PETER O'Mahony already knows what is coming.

Ireland's fledgling midfield partnership is the hot topic of chat outside the camp; within it, more prosaic fundamentals apply.

"I already have enough on my plate with the lineout and the scrum without worrying what the lads are doing," he says. It's a line that should be followed in print by an exclamation mark; indicating amiability or humour.

But you can never be sure with O'Mahony.

His stoic public demeanour, like his captain, betrays the giddy, jocular character when at ease amongst those who know him intimately. But now the warrior has his game face on.

Intricacies of lineout detail have occupied him this week and the exigencies of the bruising Boks back-row but it is the bigger picture he unveils for public consumption.

Principally, the fear factor that drives a team that, although wallowing in their status as northern hemisphere top dogs, remains smarting from their near miss against the All Blacks this time last year.

"Fear is something that always drives me," says O'Mahony, his words arrowing from his mouth in parallel to his dead-eyed stare.

"It is something that we have always used, fear of losing and letting your team down. Fear of not playing well in the green jersey. Fear of letting the fans down.

"It always plays a card for you. If you are not fearful before an international you might as well go away home."

And so history is consigned to prepare the path for the next challenge; just as the Boks will bin the three-week old memory of their defeat of the world champions, so too Ireland will dispatch their Six Nations laurels to dust.

"That's been done and it was put to bed," he says of the squad's Paris triumph. "We had a summer tour since. It certainly gave us confidence but South Africa aren't in the Six Nations.

"They are a different test and are coming off the back of a long run together. We have had to get ourselves together quite quickly. It is a big test for us.

"It's a different series now. They are not playing the All Blacks now, they are playing Ireland."

Irish Independent