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O'Mahony counting on fear factor to drive Munster

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O’Mahony believes his team can draw on their display when beating Saracens in Round Two at Thomond Park and use it as a template for success on Saturday.

O’Mahony believes his team can draw on their display when beating Saracens in Round Two at Thomond Park and use it as a template for success on Saturday.

SPORTSFILE

O’Mahony believes his team can draw on their display when beating Saracens in Round Two at Thomond Park and use it as a template for success on Saturday.

LEVITY is not something Peter O'Mahony generally brings to his media engagements, but even still the Munster skipper had his serious face on yesterday.

His voice barely rose above a quiet whisper as he looked forward to the task at hand this week with his side's European hopes intact, if just by a thread.

They gave themselves that hope with their late response in Clermont Auvergne, but now they must show more by going to north London and beating Saracens. Anything less will see them exit at the pool stage for just the second time since 1999/2000.

Drawn in one of the toughest pools ever to have come together in either the old Heineken Cup or the new incarnation, there are plenty of excuses but the captain is not entertaining them.

Faced with a win-or-bust scenario, victory is the only thing on his mind.

"The Guinness Pro12 is certainly more competitive this season, but we would always judge ourselves off where we finish up in Europe, how far we get," he said.

"Trophies is essentially where we judge ourselves off. It is very similar for supporters as well, I would guess. It's a big week for us."

The last time Munster failed to make the knockout stages in 2010/'11, O'Mahony was still a fringe player who played most of his rugby with Cork Constitution in the All-Ireland League, but his lack of involvement didn't mean it didn't hurt.

HEARTBREAKING

"It is a heartbreaking feeling certainly," he explained. "To be honest, I haven't thought about it up to now. I said it already, the fear factor is certainly a factor that will be there for everyone when we take the pitch on Saturday."

Asked whether Munster's history of success has a bearing this week, the captain said it was largely irrelevant for the squad.

"It does for supporters and yourself thinking about it, but for your processes during the week, getting yourself ready to put in a performance on Saturday which is the most important thing, it is a non-factor, it is irrelevant. It is just about getting yourself right, about putting in a performance."

O'Mahony believes his team can draw on their display when beating Saracens in Round Two at Thomond Park and use it as a template for success on Saturday.

"I don't think a huge amount has changed," he said.

"Obviously, we've a few more games under our belts. I don't think so. I don't think we'll be going very far from where we were. It's cup rugby and we're not going changing the wheel for this week. We just have to be better than we were over the last few weeks. There are small things which are still relevant from that night."

Irish Independent