Friday 15 December 2017

Feek backing O'Mahony to lead way for Irish Lions

Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Sportsfile
Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning

Scrum coach Greg Feek pretty much passed all the Ireland players fit for the Second Test, in Tokyo on Saturday, and then speculated on the potential Irish contingent in the Lions side for their first Test against the All Blacks. Including Peter O'Mahony as likely captain.

"It's funny - I suppose there's always surprises," commented Feek. "The only reason I was surprised is because he (O'Mahony) hasn't played much and I just think that the conditions at the time and the conditions in New Zealand, there's probably some rain coming because there's that time of the year.

"When it becomes a bit more set-piece (-orientated) and physical exchanges, he excels in that. When he does get his fitness he is dangerous anyway. He brings certain things outside of the field and in the changing room.

"He's the sort of guy that doesn't say too much but says things that prickle the hairs on the back of your neck, but he's a good man off it too.

"We all know what they can bring," he said of the Irish Lions as a group. "Only four (in the Test side)? I think, again, if they are fitting in down there, if they are being selfless, what they have done for us in the Six Nations is a reasonable portion (of why they are being picked).

"But I think being in that environment, what they are doing, and how they are perceived by the coaches - walking the walk has probably got them there.

"Some of them can turn the switch and put the work in. All the credit has to go to them now, and the support they are getting from family because it's so big. I take my hat off to whoever is involved. I'm proud of them, obviously."

In Tokyo, meanwhile, the Ireland side ramped up training somewhat, after yesterday's walk-through, with Simon Zebo - whose knee injury was the main concern after the weekend - taking a full part.

Finlay Bealham and Dan Leavy - both of whom had head wounds stitched - and Luke McGrath with a sore eye, stayed mostly on the sidelines.

"At the moment there isn't [a doubt about Bealham, McGrath and Leavy] but we have to wait and see over the next couple of days as they only trained partially. They couldn't do any contact stuff."

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