Sport Rugby

Saturday 21 April 2018

O'Mahony can lead us into new era – Penney

Peter O'Mahony who has been named as Munster captain for the coming season
Peter O'Mahony who has been named as Munster captain for the coming season

MUNSTER have a new captain with Peter O'Mahony confirmed as the man who will lead the Reds into the forthcoming season.

The 23-year-old has already been singled out for his leadership qualities and captained Ireland on this summer's tour of North America.

Succeeding the now retired Doug Howlett, O'Mahony is no stranger to the role and previously captained Munster during the 2011/12 season in Paul O'Connell's absence and, in doing so, claimed Munster's Young Player of the Year award.

Capped 16 times at international level, the former Cork Constitution flanker has captained Ireland U-20s and U-18s.

"It is the biggest honour of my career so far and it is very special to me," O'Mahony explained.

"When I was asked by Rob initially, I was just shocked and my first instinct was to jump at it, but I had time to go away and think about it and I wanted to talk to people to get their thoughts.

"Fellas like Paulie are very important guys in this squad and, hopefully, he and the other guys will be behind me for the year and I'm really looking forward to it.

"I'm not going to try and fill Paulie's boots, Axel's boots or Dougie's, I'm going to try and be my own captain, look after the lads and figure out the way I'm going to do things."

Munster coach Rob Penney said it was an obvious selection: "Peter is a naturally gifted leader," said the Kiwi. "He is still very young, but has a lot of the attributes that are special and intrinsic to Munster.

"He will grow in to being a special leader of this group of men. I have spoken to players, including Paul O'Connell, who was extremely supportive of Pete's appointment."

Meanwhile, Edinburgh have appointed former Ulster coach Alan Solomons as their new boss.

The Springboks' former assistant coach will check into Murrayfield on August 9 as he replaces Michael Bradley.

Elsewhere, Leicester have expressed feelings of vindication and bemusement after Richard Cockerill's nine-match suspension was amended to include two pre-season friendlies, against Jersey and Ulster.

The Aviva Premiership champions are puzzled as to why the Montpellier pre-season match was not included in the ban and they remain "disappointed" by the RFU's conduct in the case.

Cockerill was banned after being found guilty of unprofessional behaviour and using "extensive foul language" in a touchline exchange with fourth official Stuart Terheege during the Premiership final.

The suspension was to begin with the first game of the new campaign.

In contrast, Dylan Hartley's suspension for being sent off in the same game included pre-season matches. Leicester did not appeal the verdict, only the sanction.

Irish Independent

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