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Eddie O'Sullivan Makes Argument For O'Mahony To Start Ahead Of O'Brien Against Scotland

Eddie O'Sullivan Makes Argument For O'Mahony To Start Ahead Of O'Brien Against Scotland
By PJ Browne
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Ireland head into their opening game of the Six Nations against Scotland this weekend with a virtually fully fit squad. Munster back Andrew Conway is the only player not available for selection.

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On Monday night's Off The Ball, Eddie O'Sullivan and Gavin Cummiskey of the Irish Times argued over who are Ireland's most vital players. They were both in agreement regarding Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray. There was disagreement from the former Ireland head coach though when Sean O'Brien's name was put forward.

O'Sullivan believes O'Brien's absence would not be 'catastrophic' and that there is an argument for starting Peter O'Mahony ahead of him against Scotland.

He's a phenomenonal player but we have lots of options around that spot. You could argue - and I might have a target on my back for saying this - Peter O'Mahony might be a guy they need to start against Scotland for lineout presence.

You can go to Stander, you can go to Jamie Heaslip in a pinch but they're not classic lineout jumpers. If you only have two major jumpers in Toner and Donnacha Ryan, it puts extra pressure on the lineout, extra pressure on Rory Best. Whereas O'Mahony, defensively and offensively, is a really good lineout jumper. You might say, we need another presence in the lineout at that level.

O'Sullivan's suggestion would mean O'Mahony, who normally plays blindside, playing out of position at openside.

I think what he [Joe Schmidt] might do and I'm just surmising here - I think O'Brien will be there but if he was trading for another lineout presence, he might leave O'Brien on the bench and bring him on as an impact player because Stander is playing out of his skin at the moment and Heaslip is a standard bearer at number eight.

I'm not saying he should do it, those are possibilities for him if he wants a lineout presence that we might need against Scotland.

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See Also: 2 Irish Players Named In The Telegraph's World Rugby XV

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