Sunday 22 April 2018

Peter O'Mahony relishing prospect of going up against 'hugely tough' Jamie Cudmore

Peter O'Mahony says Ireland will be paying Clermont Auvergne star and Canadian international Jamie Cudmore
Peter O'Mahony says Ireland will be paying Clermont Auvergne star and Canadian international Jamie Cudmore "huge respect" when Ireland open their World Cup campaign on Saturday
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Jamie Cudmore has never exactly endeared himself to Irish supporters and on Saturday, he will look to power Canada to an upset but that doesn't stop Peter O’Mahony admiring what he brings to his side.

Back in 2008, Cudmore received a five-week ban for punching Paul O’Connell when Clermont Auvergne visited Thomond Park in the Heineken Cup.

Seven years on, Cudmore is as abrasive as ever and is the fulcrum of Canada’s forward pack and O’Mahony has come up against him often enough to know the level of physicality that be brings to the game.

“He’s a hugely tough opponent, hugely physical and a good athlete, a very good rugby player,” O’Mahony admitted.

“So if you’re going to name off all those attributes he’s got to be someone you’re impressed by.

“I’m not 100pc sure how many caps he has for Clermont but he has a high number of first-class games under his belt, he’s a very experienced player.

“I’ve played against him a couple of times and he really drives Clermont’s pack. He’s a real go-to guy for them and I’d imagine he’s the same for Canada.

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“He’s someone that we’ve looked at hard and someone that we’ll have to pay a huge amount of respect to on Saturday.”

Cudmore will undoubtedly look to get under the skin of the Ireland players and although O’Mahony is very wary of that, he isn’t going to dragged into any mind games.

“Look it’s something that we don’t have any interest in. You’ve seen it over the last two years,” he said.

“I think it’s pretty much gone out of the game of rugby at this stage, there’s too much going on, there’s too much at stake to be worried about little things like that.

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“We’ll worry about implementing our game plan, and stopping a very good Canadian side.”

Ireland trained today at Carton House with all 31 players taking a full part and O’Mahony acknowledged that it was a major boost for morale, four days out from their opening game at the Millennium Stadium.

“We have to have 31 fit players going so it’s great to have everyone training,” the back-row enthused.

“It’s probably a point of difference with us with how competitive we are in training and how good everyone is at slotting in and out. It’s hugely important to have everyone fit.

“Canada been preparing for a long time, I think they have six, seven or eight games under their belt now at this stage.

“They’ve done a huge amount of training and will certainly be well up for it. We won’t be expecting anything other than a massive test match at the weekend.”

“I think we’ve a lot of areas to cover, we’ve had four important Tests and tough Tests. We’ve plenty to work on but the good thing is there’s been a real edge to training.

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“It’s a bit different for us we haven’t travelled yet, there’s a lot of teams there already. But you can see it’s a World Cup week just by the attitude to training, and we’ve got through a lot of very good work that we needed to do, so it’s been good.”

Four years ago, O’Mahony was establishing himself in the Munster team while he watched Ireland at the World Cup. In what will be his first World Cup, he is determined to make the most of it.

“For the last one, I had opportunities to get involved with Munster, but it’s a long time ago now,” he reflects.

“Something that’s stood to us over the past couple of years is going week to week, so that’s been put to bed.

“I certainly have one of the biggest weeks of my career coming up, so there’s enough to be worried about without worrying about the last four years.

“It’s my first World Cup and hopefully it’s going to be a great experience. I’m hugely looking forward to it.”

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