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Rugby World Cup: Peter O'Mahony providing the power for Irish hopes of success

By Cian Tracey

When it comes to the physicality stakes, there aren't many players who relish them as much as Peter O'Mahony.

The 26-year old has had his fair share of injuries as a result of his fearless approach but he is very quick to distance himself from being an 'enforcer'.

Nowadays the number of players who play the game on the limits of the law and are no strangers to a scrap are lessened compared to the past but O'Mahony shirks the notion.

"That's not the way I would look at it," he stresses.

"Certainly the way my rugby has gone over the past two years it is not something that I would look at, it is not something I would want being viewed as, that guys see me that way it is hopefully for my physicality and not for any other reason.

"I just try to go about things the same as I can every weekend and try to lift my physicality depending on who I am playing against, just try and be as physical as I can and be at the coal-face as often as I can."

He may not want to be branded as an 'enforcer' but the fact remains that O'Mahony's rugged style of play is crucial to Ireland over the next couple of weeks.

Not only does the quality of opposition take a significant step up this weekend but the intensity and physicality that Italy will bring is something that Ireland have yet to face in the tournament.

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Wales and England are still counting the cost of their brutal encounter last weekend and O'Mahony is only too aware that his side are facing a similarly tough challenge against an Italian team who must win to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages.

"I think you are getting to a stage now where every game is going to be physical the way rugby has gone, the way players are built, physicality is a huge part of every game," O'Mahony maintains.

"It's a huge part of psychology, it is certainly a huge part of the pack mentality that we live in, that we have grown up in, the forwards, it is important for every international we play in."

Italy have yet to fire a shot in this tournament which from an Irish point of view is perhaps worrying as they have always looked at Sunday's clash as their most crucial.

A decision on Sergio Parisse's fitness will be made this morning but regardless if he plays or not, O'Mahony insists that Ireland's approach will not change.

"Look we're preparing for an Italian side that's going to come out and click and gel and give us as good a battle as they have over the last three or four seasons in the Six Nations.

"When they're good, they're on fire and obviously Parisse coming back in is going to give them a big boost.

"Guys like (Alessandro) Zanni, experienced guys like that, will be relishing the challenge and I don't think we're not going to get the best Italian side.

"They're very tough to play against, obviously they have an extremely formidable pack. Guys like (Josh) Furno and (Leonardo) Ghiraldini, there's world class players in their pack and in their backline as well. Every time we come up against them, it's hugely physical so it's an extremely tough game."

O'Mahony sat out last week's win over Romania after picking up a knock against Canada the week before but such is his desire to play every minute of every game, watching from the Wembley stands wasn't easy.

"You want to be involved in every game, but obviously you've got to listen to the staff, the S & C (strength and conditioning) guys.

"But missing out on the weekend, 90,000 or 80-odd thousand fans there, it's something that you'd love to be involved in.

"You play on, there has to be rotation, we want to do well but you can't go out every week with the same starting XV."

O'Mahony will be reinstated into the starting XV in a formidable back-row alongside Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip.

Belfast Telegraph


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