June 24, 2017

O'Mahony brings 'Munster mongrel' to Lions

16 June 2017, 06:14 | Simon Arnold

Sonny Bill Williams will start at inside centre tomorrow night

Sonny Bill Williams will start at inside centre tomorrow night

It should be a special night for the Barrett family in the All Blacks' warm-up match against Samoa at Eden Park tomorrow, before the three-Test series against the Lions. "I think that's what Peter will bring to the team on Saturday".

"I suppose sometimes I sit back and think about my transition into the game, how some people think it has come along quickly, [and] for me it probably doesn't feel that quick but I'm still proud of the steps I've taken", Te'o said.

Smith's been the stand-in captain in the later stages of All Blacks games before but he said being officially named captain is a dream come true.

"They're a very good rugby team and on their day they can cause and upset so we don't want to be the upset", Hansen said.

"Whilst the Lions is a dance that's happening in the background, and we're watching that with interest, there's a responsibility to the jersey and those that have been before us, that we go out and take this Test match seriously and respect Samoan rugby", he said. Ardie Savea will lose out at No 8 to captain Kieran Read but Codie Taylor is expected to start next week too, in the absence of Dane Coles who is recovering from concussion. "I will worry about our performance on Saturday that is the main thing".

"But he'll get some game time and some opportunity to keep improving his match fitness because he hasn't had a lot of rugby in recent weeks".

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

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"He was involved in almost all of the games I've played with Munster and Ireland and he'd a huge influence". This is my third time that I get a chance to show what I can do and that is what I am anxious about.

"When you play against the Pacific island teams, if you don't match these guys physically you're in for a long day", Roberts said.

"I am just looking forward to getting back on the field". "And that's what I did".

The coach likes the "Munster mongrel" in O'Mahony who will not be altering his normal determined leadership style for this one.

But the Munster stalwart admitted when he leads the Lions he will be aiming to do justice to all those powerful captains who have helped shape his career.

The great Paul O'Connell was "hugely influential" on O'Mahony's career, but he points also to Brian O'Driscoll, David Wallace and Anthony Foley. He was involved in almost all of the games I've played with Munster and Ireland and he'd a huge influence.

"Brian O'Driscoll was still there when I was playing with Ireland as well, and I could name lots more". Growing up, the Munster back-rowers even when I was playing - Wally [Paul Wallace] and Axel [Anthony Foley] had a huge influence on my career as well.

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