Saturday 16 December 2017

'My appetite for the squad to win didn't dwindle' - Peter O'Mahony on how he bounced back from Lions omission

29 June 2017; Peter O'Mahony, right, and Owen Farrell during a British and Irish Lions Training Session at Jerry Collins Stadium in Porirua, New Zealand. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
29 June 2017; Peter O'Mahony, right, and Owen Farrell during a British and Irish Lions Training Session at Jerry Collins Stadium in Porirua, New Zealand. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Peter O'Mahony went through the full gamut of emotions during last summer's Lions tour.

Selected in the squad as a bit of a bolter following a storming finish to the season, O'Mahony impressed during warm-up wins against the Crusaders and the New Zealand Maori before receiving the huge honour of captaining the Lions in the first test against the All Blacks at Eden Park.

New Zealand came out 30-15 winners and unfortunately for O'Mahony, he lost out following the defeat, with head coach Warren Gatland opting to restore tour captain Sam Warburton to the starting XV for the second and third test.

Gatland also decided to add some additional bench power through back row CJ Stander, which meant that O'Mahony went from leading out the side to watching the decisive two tests from the stand in a suit and tie.

However, in an exclusive interview on The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast, the Munster captain has revealed how he continued to show leadership even though he wasn't playing, trying his best to prepare the Lions for victory.

Listen and subscribe to The Left Wing on iTunes and Soundcloud.

"It is a difficult place to be in but it is another part of professional rugby that you just have to get on with," O'Mahony said of being dropped.

"You have to prepare the team that is selected as best you can for Saturday. I was hugely invested in the squad and the team and my appetite for the squad to win the series didn't dwindle. I still wanted the boys to win and did everything I could over the last two weeks to prepare them as best I could."

The Ireland flanker was a supportive on-looker for the final two tests as the Lions dug out a series draw, although O'Mahony disputes the notion that the squad would have taken that result at the beginning of the tour.

"I don't think I would, I don't play rugby to go out and a draw a series," he said.

"You go out to win. Look at the other 40 guys alongside you, you had all the tools to go out and win a tour in New Zealand. I know it sounds a bit brave afterwards but you don't have guys on that tour who are going to be content with that."

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