Ronan O’Gara: Peter O’Mahony an ‘outlier’ who is ‘bigger than the Munster environment’

ronan o’gara: peter o’mahony an ‘outlier’ who is ‘bigger than the munster environment’

Munster-legends-Ronan-OGara-and-Peter-OMahony

Ireland and Munster legend Ronan O’Gara believes that if anyone is deserving of preferential treatment, it is Peter O’Mahony.

O’Gara’s comments come in the wake of the controversy surrounding the national team skipper, who some believe has been badly handled this year.

Firstly, there was the contract saga, which was finally settled in April, before rumours of a rift with Munster head coach Graham Rowntree surfaced.

O’Mahony has regularly been replaced early in matches recently and was taken off after just 45 minutes in their URC quarter-final victory over the Ospreys.

Earlier in the week, great flanker Alan Quinlan slammed Rowntree’s treatment of the Ireland captain, while O’Gara has also weighed in on the matter.

O’Gara’s comments

“The word legend is bandied around way too often in sport because there’s not 30 club legends in your squad every year,” the La Rochelle head coach told Off The Ball.

“If there was a person that merited to be treated differently than the others, irrespective of performance – there are some guys that are bigger than the environment – having played with Peter, he would be the outlier in that regard.

“I think he makes people around him better.”

O’Gara also believes the same philosophy could be applied to retiring Simon Zebo, who the ex-fly-half insists performs a similar role in the backline.

“If you were to trawl through the Munster squad, another guy that jumps out would be Simon Zebo. They have a radiating presence about them. The performance then becomes a different debate,” he said.

“For me, in terms of the backs, that would be the guy you can build the team around.

“From a forwards point of view, from a full environment point of view, Peter O’Mahony is a shining light for Munster and has been for a long time, and has a huge role to play.”

Alan Quinlan: Peter O’Mahony ‘frustrated and angry’ after being ‘treated like a pensioner’ by Munster

O’Gara did not state whether the decision to replace O’Mahony early was the right or wrong one, but hopes that the reasons for the decision has been communicated properly to the flanker.

“There may be a good reason from a rugby point of view that he isn’t there for the last 20 minutes, I don’t have that data, I don’t have that inside knowledge, but I think what is very interesting for me is no matter how potentially bad the information is, you’ve got to give it to the player,” he said.

“He won’t like you but he will respect you.”

Contract issue

O’Gara also addressed the contract issue and hoped that all the relevant parties had their say in the deal.

“Sport is dealing with people and making people feel good. From a business point of view, does the player want to talk? Essentially, it’s a players game and they’re holding all the aces,” he added.

“Then the club has the final decision on whether he’s top priority, he’s priority, he’s priority with an asterisk or under no circumstances are we willing to keep this guy.

“For me, it is so important that is it done by the decision-makers. Who are the decision-makers? Peter O’Mahony and his management team, and the head coach.

“To establish relationships and to keep those relationships going, to keep the trust going, for me as a head coach I would insist on stepping in.”

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