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O'Mahony a natural Lions leader: Feek

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/06/2017

Peter O'Mahony has all the attributes needed to lead the British and Irish Lions, according to Ireland scrum coach and former All Black Greg Feek.

O'Mahony has been tipped to captain Warren Gatland's side for the first Test against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.

Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn Jones remain strong contenders, but, after captaining the Lions to an impressive 32-10 victory over the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua, O'Mahony looks the favourite to wear the captain's armband on Saturday.

"If it is true then we're all proud of him here," Feek said.

"We all know how passionate he is about the game and the way he goes about things. He's a leader that leads from the front. He says 'follow me' and doesn't shirk the hard yards."

O'Mahony's elevation to the Lions captaincy would cap a stunning resurgence from the Munster flanker this season.

After an injury-plagued campaign, O'Mahony earned a seat on the plane to New Zealand with an eye-catching display in Ireland's 13-9 victory over England in the Six Nations, a result which ended an 18-match winning streak for Eddie Jones' side.

The performance was all the more remarkable given that O'Mahony only started the game because Jamie Heaslip withdrew from the starting line-up with an injury just minutes before kick-off.

"When it becomes a bit more set-piece (orientated) and physical exchanges, he excels in that," Feek said.

"He brings certain things outside of the field and in the changing room. He's the sort of guy that doesn't say too much, but says things that prickle the hairs on the back of your neck, but he's a good man off it too."

O'Mahony is set to be joined in the Lions pack by Ireland team-mates Tadhg Furlong and Sean O'Brien, with Jack McGrath and Iain Henderson strong contenders to provide back-up on the bench.

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