Thursday 18 January 2018

'Is O'Mahony irreplaceable? Maybe not' - Brian O'Driscoll names three Irish stars worth bending the rules for

Tadhg Furlong (left), Johnny Sexton (centre) and Conor Murray (right).
Tadhg Furlong (left), Johnny Sexton (centre) and Conor Murray (right).

Brian O'Driscoll thinks Munster captain Peter O'Mahony is crucial to Ireland's success at the 2019 World Cup, but adds that he isn't one of the team's 'irreplaceable' players.

O'Mahony and CJ Stander are currently in the process of negotiating new deals, as their current contracts expire at the end of the season, and there has been speculation that the back row duo could move abroad if they fail to come to an agreement with the IRFU.

However, speaking to ESPN Scrum, Ireland legend O'Driscoll said that while O'Mahony is nailed on at number six currently, his loss wouldn't be as big a blow for Joe Schmidt than if he was to lose some of his other Lions.

O'Driscoll thinks that if any of Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray or Tadhg Furlong were to leave, Schmidt would have to pick them anyway in order to avoid the team dropping off in performance level.

"Johnny Sexton or Conor Murray or a Tadhg Furlong," he said.

"I think those three names, if any of those were seen overseas the gulf between them and the next player is so vast that I think they'd have to pick them.

""Is Peter O'Mahony completely irreplaceable? Maybe not, albeit he's a shoo-in to the team right now, the strength of that back row is in a good spot. It will be a difficult decision for Peter O'Mahony."

O'Driscoll added that he can understand the lure of moving abroad for O'Mahony, although the looming World Cup could be key to keeping him at home.

"Yes, obviously [there's] the carrot of the World Cup in 2019 but it's a short career and people have to maximise their earnings while they can. In many players' cases they will not be able to earn to that capacity again when they finish up playing. So, you've got to make hay while sun shines."

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