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Peter O'Mahony | Ireland need rare tone-setting win in Cardiff

Peter O'Mahony says Ireland have to be wary of an "unpredictable" Wales team if they're to end a ...



Peter O'Mahony | Ireland need...
Rugby

Peter O'Mahony | Ireland need rare tone-setting win in Cardiff

Peter O'Mahony says Ireland have to be wary of an "unpredictable" Wales team if they're to end a poor record of Six Nations victories in Wales.

Ireland have lost each of their last three games at the Millennium Stadium in the competition - although they have earned World Cup and warm-up wins in the Welsh capital during that time.

Despite their poor tournament record in Cardiff, Ireland are favourites to begin the campaign with a win against Wayne Pivac's side, who have struggled to adapt to life after Warren Gatland.

Ireland beat the Welsh twice during the 2020 calendar, the latter of which was a dominant 32-9 victory at the Aviva Stadium in November.

Speaking this afternoon looking ahead to that game, Peter O'Mahony says Ireland's away record in Cardiff is one that needs to be corrected, but that their opposition are still capable of turning it on.

"It speaks for itself, even our record in the Millennium Stadium isn't good. I don't think we've won there (in the Six Nations) since 2013, so it's an incredibly difficult place to get a result. We're in no doubt of that.

"It's going to be a huge challenge, the players in the squad they've picked, they're obviously going to want to improve on where they came from in the last few months, and with the changes there it leaves them a bit unpredictable from our point of view, but all we can do is focus on ourselves for the week.

"I think everyone understands how important the first game in the championship is, it's a massive tone-setter for the rest of it, and that's the way we'll be taking it for the weekend," he says.

"We've all seen what Paulie stood for"

Peter O'Mahony has also been reacquainted with his former Munster and Ireland captain Paul O'Connell in recent days, after his old teammate began his tenure as the new forwards coach under Andy Farrell.

The current Munster captain is one of 14 members of the squad who would have played alongside O'Connell, and says it's vital those players act as a link in the chain from O'Connell to the younger members of the panel.

"He's having a very positive effect, we've all seen what Paulie stood for and how he played and his knowledge of the game, and he's passing on some of that priceless stuff to us already and it's very enjoyable to have him around.

"Luckily a few of us have played with him and we understand the way he operates, and we can be a little bit of a bridge as well for the younger players who didn't get the chance to play alongside him, but he's really well able to get his points across as he was when he was playing. There's nothing different there, he was always presenting even when he was playing so he's slotted in very well.

"His attention to detail is very high as well. I suppose, before he arrived our lineout was in a good spot. He's added nicely to bits that he can pick up on that we can marry up with the work we have done and bring the whole thing forward," he said.

"I enjoy the way we're playing"

The 31-year-old is currently in negotiations with the IRFU for a new contract, as one of the many players who had to wait until the new year to begin discussions on his future.

O'Mahony wouldn't be drawn on how those negotiations are progressing, but says he's been pleased with his own form of late.

The Munster captain has played a lot of rugby at openside flanker for both country and province, and says he feels he's shown more of his footballing skills during the 2020/21 season.

"Yeah, I have (enjoyed my game). Playing the rugby is my favourite part of the actual game. The skills and the football, it's enjoyable to be able to show what you can do. To be taught about positional play and strike play, that's something we certainly built on a lot in the 12 months since the last campaign. It has to be something we have to build on, going forward.

"100 percent I do, I enjoy the way we're playing at the moment, and that's not to say that there isn't a lot of hard work to be done, because that underpins everything that you see," he added.

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Andy Farrell Irish Rugby Paul O'Connell Peter O'Mahony Six Nations Six Nations 2021 Welsh Rugby

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