Friday 19 October 2018

Peter O'Mahony's rally cry to his players is exactly what Ireland fans want to hear

Peter O'Mahony during Ireland rugby squad training at Royal Pines Resort in Queensland
Peter O'Mahony during Ireland rugby squad training at Royal Pines Resort in Queensland
O'Mahony: "If you go back to your last game and think that that is going to get you through tomorrow, you’re kidding yourself." Photo: Getty Images

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Peter O'Mahony has warned his Ireland team-mates that they cannot bask in the glory of their Grand Slam success if they want to kick on and win the summer series in Australia.

This morning's first Test in Brisbane is the first time Joe Schmidt's side are back in action since they won the Six Nations at Twickenham on St Patrick's Day and they are determined to take another big step towards next year's World Cup in Japan.

With Joey Carbery named as the starting out-half and O'Mahony leading the side in Rory Best's absence, there is a new-look feel to the Irish team but they have arrived Down Under in confident form on the back of a highly successful season to date.

Unbeaten in their last 12 internationals, they are favourites to win the series and are being roundly praised locally.

But O'Mahony says their spring exploits mean nothing in the southern hemisphere.

"This year has to give players in Ireland confidence, it was a big Six Nations for us and with Leinster doing the double - you have to take confidence from it and build on it," he said.

"If you go back to your last game and think that that is going to get you through tomorrow, you're kidding yourself.

"It's done now, it's up to us to kick on and improve on that.

"If you just think that because you've won a Champions Cup or beat England in Twickenham it gives us a right to win here in Australia, we've another thing coming to us. We're playing one of the best teams in the world in their own back yard."

Ireland produced one of their all-time great performances in beating England in March, but O'Mahony warned that it would not be easy to hit those heights again given the changes to the squad and the lack of preparation time.

"It's challenging, certainly," he said. "We'd eight or nine weeks of a build-up to that game and that certainly stands to you.

"It's a standard we've set, but it will be difficult.

"We haven't had a huge amount of time together, but you look at the way the provinces have performed together over the last couple of months, the way Leinster have gone, you just want to get back into that flow.

"We spoke about it a couple of years ago, when we needed to talk about it, guys just need to kick into Irish mode the day we arrive into the camp.

"That's something that we pride ourselves on. It's a challenge, but it's something we're striving to do."

Although he is still just 22 and has far less experience than the man he's replacing, Johnny Sexton, the Wallabies are aware of what Carbery brings to the table on the biggest day of his career to date - although captain Michael Hooper admitted he was surprised at the decision to go with the younger man.

"They're extremely quality players they've brought in," the flanker said of the changes.

"Carbery hasn't had too many starts but watching some of his stuff, it's outstanding - among others there. So it's going to be a quality hit-out."

Michael Cheika has made a late change to their bench, with prop Tom Robertson replacing the injured Allan Alaalatoa, but otherwise both teams came through their Captain's Runs unscathed.

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