Peter O'Mahony: Irish rugby is in a good place

With the success of both Leinster and Munster in the Champions Cup this weekend, O'Mahony reckons Ireland have risen in the European stakes

Peter O'Mahony

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Munster took another massive step toward completing an historic season by beating Toulouse in the quarter-final of the Champions Cup on Saturday afternoon.

Domestically, the Irish province have performed incredibly well and now are just one game away from the final of Europe's premier club competition. 

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has watched his side go on an almost peerless run of good form in the Guinness PRO12 and only fellow Irish province, Leinster, sit above them in the table.

Leinster also booked their place in the semi-final of the Champions Cup with a win at home to English Premiership side, Wasps. Of the four Irish provinces contesting the PRO12, three occupy play-off spots as we head into the tail-end of the season.

With this in mind, it's no wonder that Munster back-row Peter O'Mahony says that Irish rugby is in a good place.

"With the guys we have across the provinces and in the national team, you're always striving for big performances to compete with the best teams in Europe and the world when you get to national level," he told Newstalk Sport's Oisin Langan after yesterday's game at Thomond Park.

"That's never going to go away. With the history and the success of the clubs of all the provinces, there is always going to be that drive to be the best and to play against the best. That will never go anywhere."

 

Munster's Andrew Conway celebrates his try with Simon Zebo. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

O'Mahony was forced off the pitch early with a dead leg and Munster also suffered a blow to fan favourite, CJ Stander. Conor Murray, who was named in the starting XV, was also forced out with injury before kick-off.

O'Mahony says Munster's quality on the bench has been the difference for his side this year.

"It's the pressure you have to be able to put on your bench and your squad. The ability to come on and make an impact. To drive the game on. 

"Especially against a team like Toulouse, guys are going to be really tired after 50 or 60 minutes. To come off the bench and have the ability to make an impact is seriously important."

Speaking about yesterday's victory over the Top 14 side, he said: "The team we came up against were never going to lie down. We got a couple of early scores and went 10-0 up, but we knew they were going to keep coming at us.

"They're too good to lie down. The quality they have and the history they have with the club in this competition, we knew we would have to knuckle down.

"Defence is something we've worked hard on over the last couple of months and we need to keep building. I thought our discipline was poor at times, certainly in the first half.

"We gave away another couple in the second half. That's something we'll have to look, but as a whole we'll be happy with our defensive performance."