Peter O'Mahony: We can still beat the best in the world
Peter O’Mahony has declared that Ireland can still beat the best in the world on their day if they just take their chances and avoid mistakes.
After downing the All Blacks last November, Ireland have slipped up in tournament action for the third successive occasion.
But the Munster captain feels Joe Schmidt’s squad, still the fourth best in the world rankings, can hit those heights again, beginning with world-record chasing England this weekend.
"It’s nearly there, the smallest of margins, we know we’re a good enough team to complete and finish off those drills we’re asked to," said O’Mahony, who may come into the side in one of the limited changes Schmidt may make to shake up a mis-firing back-row and lineout.
"We know if we do that, there aren’t many teams that can compete with us. We haven’t lost faith in ourselves or the coaches.
"We are close and we believe. Four months ago we beat the All Blacks and it is a different press conference now.
"We haven’t thrown anything out, it is the same squad and we can beat anyone in the world on our day if we get things right.
"We have won titles and beaten all the southern hemisphere teams. We are hugely ambitious and want to win every game so when we lose, we are very critical and that doesn’t change.
"We’ve had a look at the match, we did a bit last night. We looked at some stuff we can do better, and some positives.
"But also the opportunities that we made. That was probably the biggest thing.
"We got ourselves in good positions with scrums and five-metre line-outs that we didn’t finish off. We pride ourselves on that.
"There is a silver lining there in terms of us creating those opportunities but we need to be more accurate in finishing and clinical against good sides like Wales and England this weekend.
"It’s little things, smallest of margins at this level, foot placement here or there. It’s not an effort issue, we need to be more accurate.
"There is a huge amount to play for from our point of view, rankings, pride and wanting to leave the jersey in a good place after the 6 Nations.
"Every time we come together we want to build and improve and that’s no different. We have learned a huge amount already, we have a big game at the weekend and we want to build and add to that we’ve done already and take away learnings and leave it on a positive.
"There’s a huge amount of stake but there is a huge amount for us to go after as well."