‘He’s got so many attributes to his game that I wish I had when I played’

STEPHEN FERRIS BELIEVES that Peter O’Mahony’s presence brings a better balance to the Irish team than the celebrated back row that he featured in.

The trio of Ferris, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip was often heralded as one of the gold standards of international rugby.

But with both Ferris and Heaslip now retired, only O’Brien — who is hoping to make a statement following his recent injury woes — remains in the Irish pack.

The Tullow Tank lines out alongside Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander for Saturday evening’s November International against Argentina.

And speaking on Heineken Rugby Weekly, Ferris reserved some glowing praise for O’Mahony in particular.

“I just love watching Peter O’Mahony play,” the former Ulster flanker said.

“He’s not a physical beast who runs around, running over people like Duane Vermeulen.

“He’s got so many attributes to his game that I admire, that I wish I had when I played: his lineout defence ability, the way he can get over the ball, he reads the game very well, he gets himself on the end of try-scoring opportunities, he’s usually there in a last-ditch tackle opportunity.”

He added: “People always come up to me and say about the back row of myself, Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien, it was brilliant.

“But between the three of us, none of us were brilliant lineout operators so Jamie used to always step in in five-man lineouts and five-man defensive lineouts.

“If someone like Pete was in there and you had Jamie and Sean, or myself and Sean, I think the balance is a lot better.

“We might have been brilliant going forward and making big hits and getting turnovers but it’s just finding that small couple of per cent that’s going to beat the opposition in big games. I think Pete deserves a lot of credit for being able to slip into that role.”

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Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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