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O'Mahony brings 'Munster mongrel' to Lions

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/06/2017

British and Irish Lions Peter O'Mahony during a press conference. © David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images British and Irish Lions Peter O'Mahony during a press conference. Irish flanker Peter O'Mahony brought the "Munster mongrel" to the British and Irish Lions' victory over the Crusaders - but now he needs to do it as captain against the Maori All Blacks, coach Warren Gatland says.

O'Mahony, as part a loose forward trio with Sean O'Brien and Taulupe Faletau, helped the Lions produce their best 2017 performance in a 12-3 win in Christchurch.

Before that game, Gatland demanded the 27-year-old O'Mahony - captain of Pro12 side Munster - bring a bit of his Irish club side's characteristic "mongrel" to the match, as well as a sense of physical intimidation and never-say-die spirit.

Having delivered on that challenge, the Cork-born O'Mahony now replaces benched incumbent Sam Warburton as captain of the Test selection for Saturday.

"It's not something you can quantify about what Munster brings to a game - I've been there so many times and watched them play, it's a special sort of pride," Gatland said.

"To dig deep and bring things and performances from places where a lot of players individually and teams collectively can't go - that's what you're looking for."

O'Mahony, for his part, said he was honoured to take on the captaincy in his debut Lions tour, and hoped to steer the side around the park in Rotorua well.

A win was critical for the Lions' confidence going into next week's first Test against the All Blacks - but a performance worthy of the red shirt, even more so.

"I think that's what the tour is all about - taking your lessons, taking your positives and building on them, trying to put them into a bigger performance," O'Mahony said.

"First and foremost we need a performance - whatever comes after that comes, but you need guys stepping up, you know you're coming into big weeks now.

"You've got to do it justice not just for yourself but for everyone."

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